Alcoholism

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Phrygian77, Sep 11, 2019.

  1. Marshall_Stack

    Marshall_Stack Friend of Leo's

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    2 years. Going on a retreat tomorrow with a bunch of my new friends from the men’s nooner. Hasn’t removed depression etc. but has made it clearer.
    I heard someone say if I have to drink, I can tomorrow. Another way of looking at 24 at a time.
     
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  2. dan1952

    dan1952 Friend of Leo's

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    @JohnnyCrash - You're lucky you didn't die, brother man! Gregg Allman said in his book that alcohol withdrawal was tougher than heroin. I've never done heroin, but I'll vouch for the horrors of alcohol withdrawal. Congrats, JC, keep up the good work, and, Phrygian, stay strong!
     
  3. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I could go on and on about all the claims that 12 step programs "didn't work for me", and I'm trying to restrain myself.
    But restraint isn't my strongest suit.

    I'd compare it to saying "the chainsaw store didn't work for me".
    Figure your addiction/ alcoholism is like your yard where the lawn has gotten overgrown with trees.
    You go to the chainsaw store a couple times a week and everybody had a different tree problem than you have.
    They all have more trees and bigger trees. Or they have nice lush lawns with no trees in sight.
    Seems like most of them are whining about how haaaaard all that work would be as they maybe try to cut some of those trees with the chainsaw they bought, but with no gas or oil or guidance as to why the chainsaw doesn't DO anything.
    Better still they whine that doing nothing but show up accomplished nothing but showing up.
    So you don't buy a chainsaw, don't buy some bar oil, don't buy some two stroke oil, don't buy a gas can, don't buy some gas, don't put the two stroke oil in the can and the bar oil in the bar oiler and some gas in with the two stroke oil before filling the gas tank, and don't ask any experienced tree cutting chainsaw users for some guidance with your tree problem. Or maybe you ask and ignore the answers.
    Seems pretty obvious what happens if you don't cut any trees, let more and more trees grow, and go on to say chainsaws didn't work for you.
    I suppose maybe just showing up makes the trees seem less problematic, but the durn things keep growing bigger and the family gets more and more sick of our not taking care of our problem(s).

    Members who work a program hear a lot of "I can't (or couldn't) go to a meeting until I get sober/ clean".
    Sorta like saying I can't go to the chainsaw store until I clear all the trees off what should be my lush green lawn.
     
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  4. RoscoeElegante

    RoscoeElegante Friend of Leo's

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    Once I really committed to absolutely minimizing my drinking--I mean down to one per month--it was amazing to clearly see all the triggers to drink I had developed over the years:

    Bad day = ease the stress
    Sad day = ease the pain
    Worries = ease the stress
    Good day = celebrate
    Got a lot of work done = celebrate
    Put on a sad song to leak out the woes = drink
    Put on a happy song 'cause I'm in a good mood + I got my paperwork done = drink
    Evening = You earned it
    Got back from running or swimming = drink
    Finished lifting weights = drink
    Did well at softball = drink
    Frustrated at doing badly at softball = drink
    Got my maps out to plan the next family trip = drink
    Got the car ready and packed the night before the family trip = drink
    Weekend evening = You earned it even more
    Go out with friends = drink
    Make a really nice supper = drink
    Sit back and watch the kids happily play = drink* (= any time I was on kid-watch duty, I did minimize the drinking to stay attentive to and protective of them; never drank and drove, either)
    Kids away for sleepovers at their friends = drink
    Long, fun night playing guitar = drink
    Long, sweetly drowsy baseball game on in a good stadium = drink
    Quiet evening = drink
    Didn't drink much thus far in the week = celebrate
    Planning trip into Canadian wilderness = drink
    In Canadian wilderness = drink
    Just finished a long drive = drink
    Friend mentioned this brand/type of wine, beer, or whiskey I haven't tried yet = drink
    I forget what brandy really tastes like. Sherry, too. Have I really ever been fair to vodka? = drink
    Etc., etc., etc.

    Almost all of it came to down to fear: the fear that I couldn't face certain feelings without my "friend" alcohol with and within me. Which, of course, is not facing those feelings at all. Since you can't face anything with a mask on your eyes. Once I found I could face worry, stress, loss, sadness, painful memories, etc., without alcohol, and could even feel and know those emotions better, more fully and more productively, without alcohol, I was on my way.

    I realized too that (and not to be whiny) I grew up without much praise or encouragement. So a few big glasses of wine after getting quality work done, etc., was my way of rewarding myself by getting a nice warm glow going where recognition had never taken root.

    So, for me, a huge part of getting control over what was over-controlling me was throwing the monkey wrench into all these equations. I had to unplug from a lot of friends and habits, but I'm sure glad I did it (with plenty of little relapses along the way).

    I had to dig deeper, too, to find out why drinking had gradually, and at certain periods in my life especially, gotten such a hold on me. Once I could see the childhood and adolescent stress and missing-encouragement patterns where it had taken hold of me, and forced myself, day by day, sometimes hour by hour, to go the exercise, fun-w/out-alcohol, walk-away-from-triggers routes instead, it all got easier. I still have plenty of cravings to drink at certain times and in certain circumstances, starting with evening falling if I'm done w/ the day's work. But bit by bit it's easier and easier to resist those cravings. And I'm ALWAYS glad when I do so--mostly because my throat, stomach, and pancreas can't risk the abuse anymore, and because I'm so much more productive when I don't drink at all.

    Best wishes to all in their struggles, as I know how mighty this can be. My family has a lot of addiction problems, starting with cigarettes, which I still profoundly crave after 36 years of quitting smoking. When it's in the genes, in the culture, and in our self-medication habits, that's a big web of chains to break. But it CAN be done.
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2019
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  5. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    So how is today going?
    I'm not sure more ativan will help you get sober so you can go to a meeting, but it's possible somebody at a meeting will have experience getting off booze and ativan.
    For certain there will be somebody at a meeting who couldn't get off the booze, but then they did get off the booze.

    If you, the booze, and the ativan are not fixing your problem, and you couldn't get the doctor to help you, maybe give some more though to going to a meeting for help getting sober, instead of not going to a meeting because you feel you need to get sober before you can go to meetings.
    Certainly drunkenly tipping over chairs in a meeting is embarrassing.
    But as we say, you can't save your ass and your face at the same time.

    One thing that happens when we reach the point you're at right now is if we choose to keep avoiding the obvious solution, our desperation drives us to make things worse faster.

    This could mean family gets hurt, job problems get worse, cops see us driving funny etc.

    The other thing s that times like this are a window of opportunity.
    Going to a meeting desperate will bring healthy members that can actually help out of the woodwork.

    Waiting until we look better to go to a meeting will easily result in nothing at all if we just sit there trying to appear OK.
    Again, you are not unique in having these thoughts and feelings.
    They are precisely what keeps us stuck in the rut until we lose everything and finally look like those members who are so much worse.
    Might take a couple more decades to get to that point though, and as somebody mentioned, you can't get those years back.
     
  6. Phrygian77

    Phrygian77 Tele-Afflicted

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    I'm signing up for intensive outpatient therapy. Apparently the place lost their admissions coordinator, so couldn't get anyone to call me back until this morning.

    It'll be something like 3 days a week, 3 hours a day, with homework, drug and alcohol test. Sounds like a lot of fun, but if this is what I need to do, then I'm on board with it. At least I won't be going away, and I won't be radio silent.
     
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  7. Phrygian77

    Phrygian77 Tele-Afflicted

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    I'm pretty convinced that it's all brain chemistry, and how over a long period of time, alcohol changes it, and it takes a long time for your brain to return to normal.

    I went through several stages, from initially just drinking a few beers every night to get to sleep, to enough that hangovers were effecting my work performance. I'm lucky at that point that I didn't lose my job, but the hangovers started to disappear, and for a very long time, I drank close to a 12 pack of beer every night. Eventually, a case every 2 days. I got up in the morning and went to work with bells on.

    But during that time, I would occasionally drink whiskey, and bad things would happen. Countless things, that happened after my head had hit the pillow. Usually, it was urinating on something in the middle of the night. I actually flipped up a cushion in a chair one night like it was a toilet seat. Yeah, it's embarrassing, but that's what happens, and you have no recollection of it whatsoever.

    But, all of that stopped, and worse things started happening. I woke up one morning (in my bed!) with my left side hurting badly. Somehow, I had broken two ribs. Pains, bruises, and such would regularly show up days latter, after I had apparently fallen at some point in the night.

    I used to joke that I could never go out west because I'd probably stumble into a cactus in the middle of the night. Then one night, my girlfriend (fiancee now) and I were watching a show on Investigation Discovery, and the story was about this guy that was found dead, face down, in a creek. The investigation ultimately determined that the guy was drunk and passed out face down in the water. I thought, "Holy crap, that could happen to me!"
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2019
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  8. thunderbyrd

    thunderbyrd Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    i have looked over this thread. i like to drink. i went for quite awhile without drinking, once. i missed it badly.

    i don't know if i am an alcoholic or not, but quite possibly i am. i really like to drink, love being buzzed, but i am pretty careful about it. what is the qualification to be an alcoholic? how do you know if you are one?
     
  9. Frodebro

    Frodebro Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    That's a pretty tough one to answer. There are people who drink heavily for years and never become physically or psychologically addicted, and there are others who are hooked almost immediately after just drinking in moderation. Genetics and body chemistry play a role in this stuff.
     
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  10. jsnwhite619

    jsnwhite619 Friend of Leo's

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    A friend of mine in college would do the "sleep peeing" thing. P!$$ed on someone's Christmas tree, fell into it and the gifts once. Finally, a few years ago, he flipped his Razor ATV drunk in his backyard and luckily survived but has a scar down one whole side of his face as a reminder. That slowed him down for a little while, but he finally got drunk one night and started a fight with the wrong sober guy and got his ass beat and eye socket crushed, and it was someone he knew well that did it. Had to have surgery for that. I think that at least got him to to stop drinking liquor.

    Blackout is never good. I've known guys with no tolerance, but great endurance. Sloppy drunk after 5-6 beers, but you couldn't knock them out with a hammer until they went through 18 and lost their mind.

    @RoscoeElegante nailed it above. It becomes routine. Back & legs ache at the end of the day? Have a couple drinks. Celebrating? Mourning? Depressed? Playing guitar? It becomes "part" of whatever you're doing. I used to know an old guy who was the stereotypical alcoholic Southern lawyer. He realized that for him, it was the habit, like cigarettes. He needed a drink in his hand. So, he switched from beer to Coca Cola. You never saw him without a can of Coke in his hand, but it was the act of holding a drink and sipping constantly -- kind of like vaping vs patches or gum - that helped him.

    If you really want to get a leg up - after you know it's safe from DT's - get a prescription for Antabuse. I've never had it, but a friend in college got his 2nd DUI and had to show up every day and take one at the courthouse. I don't think you can even stand a root beer with that stuff without throwing your guts up. When I told my dad about him, he said a guy he knew once had to take it, and even the alcohol in the hair tonic he used soaked through his skin and reacted with it. It ain't pretty, but you CANNOT drink on it.
     
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  11. Frodebro

    Frodebro Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Yeah, sounds vaguely familiar. I have a list a mile long of things that used to happen when I was drinking, but for the most part I don't dwell on any of it anymore. One of the coolest things about getting sober and finding others on the same path is the occasional swapping of war stories. Things that were once embarrassing are now a source of amusement.
     
  12. RoscoeElegante

    RoscoeElegante Friend of Leo's

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    That's a really tough question, for sure. Not sure of the answer. Likely, a professional can give the best answer, in everyone's individual case.

    In mine, I never had the shakes, I could and did go days and weeks without a drink even during the most alcohol-soaked eras of my life, I never drank at work or went to work having had even a sip of alcohol, I held the same job for 26 years (and counting), raised two kids through a divorce to productive adulthoods, and then a second set through a second divorce who are now high-functioning teens (with neither divorce having much to do with drinking at all), never had a DUI or a drunken fight, rarely got more than half drunk, I drank both sociably and by myself so it wasn't a completely self-isolating thing, etc.

    So, for me, the litmus test questions were:
    • Is it something you're relying on, and bending your life around?
    • Would you be better--healthier, more productive, better sleep, less self-isolating--if you stopped?
    • Do you know it's doing you harm but the urge to keep doing it keeps overwhelming your self-vows to cut back or quit?
    • Is it a lazy way to try to fill a gap or salve a wound in your life that might be better dealt with with alcohol out of the way?
    The answer to all this was Yes, for me, with the health thing giving me instant negative feedback, and a big spur to make a decision I dreaded. Even though I kept letting myself slip a time or two a week. So, finally, when the typical third or half a bottle of wine "responsibly" sipped each evening after a day of good-enough work, very good child care, good-enough house keeping, fun guitar learning, etc., made my stomach hurt badly and made me lose blood in two directions, I realized that my doorbell had been rung, with, for me, the biggest question of 'em all:

    Is this the right thing to be doing to your kids--putting their father's life needlessly at risk like this?

    I resented how my dad chose cigarettes over staying alive, over hanging around with and for his kids. I was doing the same with alcohol.

    Seeing my blood go down the drain and toilet was the dope-slap I needed. I'm lucky it didn't kill me before it got to this point.
     
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  13. thunderbyrd

    thunderbyrd Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    Hey, Bucko, that's (i think, i"m fairly well buzzed right now...) a good answer.

    but i am in a place where i can't easy let loose. i do not know why life straight sucks for me so much, but it does.
     
  14. Skydog1010

    Skydog1010 Tele-Holic Ad Free Member

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    Hang, there I'm sober 6 years, 5 months ( in two days). It's tough.

    Been off Tramadol since April 26th this year.

    Xanax is next to go, been taking that since 1983 when my ex and I separated.

    I can identify with you pain.

    Fortunately I can quit stuff when I decide I've had enough, stopped smoking after 42 years of puffing constantly. That is the worst addition of all. Everything pales when compared to nicotine.

    Good luck!

    I've never sponsored anyone. Had a coworker sponsor me back around 1978-9, that didn't work so well, I wasn't ready to quit drinking.

    You need to decide, that you can do this. You can, and it sounds like you have to.
     
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  15. jsnwhite619

    jsnwhite619 Friend of Leo's

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    @Phrygian77 Wrote and recorded this one back in my college days. Turned out to be more true later on...

     
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  16. Skydog1010

    Skydog1010 Tele-Holic Ad Free Member

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    Talk to someone. Anyone.
     
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  17. Phrygian77

    Phrygian77 Tele-Afflicted

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    I don't think alcohol is a bad thing for everyone. In fact, I think a glass of wine with dinner is a good thing, but once you start letting it control you, that's a problem. The addiction comes on slow, but it's really scary once you're really addicted. Like others here have said, the withdraw symptoms can be worse than withdrawing from heroin.


    When I've been sober. My go to was decaf coffee. Drink it like crazy, and I still will. Caffeinated coffee, on the other hand, is not a good idea for someone detoxing from alcohol.

    By the way, since you mentioned it in your previous post, I've run my table saw a few times slightly inebriated. I've know I've said it many times in other posts, I hate the table saw. It scares the crap out of me. Aside from the possibility of loosing fingers. It will throw heavy things at great force. I know you know this. Sometimes it would take a drink or two just to calm my nerves to use the damn thing.

    It's funny how you can drink and do some things with incredible skill and grace. You can look at the amps I've built (not to brag mind you), just that sometimes passion and will override everything else. And, a drink or two also eliminate any doubts you may have about your abilities. It helps with keeping your hands steady when soldering also. However, I've also found that I can do it just as well sober.
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2019
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  18. thunderbyrd

    thunderbyrd Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    and here is exactly what i would say to anyone, "i love to be HIGH. drink is the easiest and cheapest, other ways are not much available to me, but it is easy to get alcohol. i can do this, and go on in other ways of life. Straight life seems like such ******** to me."
     
  19. RoscoeElegante

    RoscoeElegante Friend of Leo's

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    I hear ya. I relied on drinking too much from about 16 until about 55. 41 years. So I'm not moralizing. At all. But I do believe that you'll summon the courage to face life w/out self-harming self-medication, so you can sort out whatever it is that made the self-medicating so attractive. Not that drinking is cowardly, so much as it can be the best we can do until we begin to see how much stronger than drinking we can be.

    Best wishes.
     
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  20. Mjark

    Mjark Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    There's your answer. Normal people don't have doubts.
     
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