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So scared about posting but need to do something about my drinking

(57 Posts)
Somethinggottagive Sat 17-Nov-12 21:00:10

It has taken me about a year to write this post. I have now for a long long time from reading these boards accepted that I have a problem. I want to be normal, want to have a drink or two now and again, but I can't. And I don't want to carry on like this.

I can't spend too long thinking about all there is to say that has brought me to this point, otherwise I will never ever click the button and finally finally finally say it out loud, even if just on the Internet.

On the outside, I am totally functional, 3 DC, lovely marriage, happy home, part time work....but I am haunted by by inability to control my drinking. Recently I have been able to control it more - nights off, no drinking in the week, but I still give in when I don't want to. And I drink fast, and I generally am always the one that drinks the most. And I had a night recently whe I drunk 1.5 bottles of wine on my own, and know that is pretty awful. My DH is lovely, but doesn't get how bad it is (generally unobservant plus I lie about my alcohol consumption).

I am having CBT for anxiety, but I have had this moment of clarity today that my anxiety is so much a mental health problem cause by my drinking. Bt I am so scared of going next session and telling my therapist that it is alcohol that is the real problem in my life, and anxiety is secondary. But I know I probably should?

Also, should I not even thinking about 'moderation' in getting on top of my alcohol issues? Should I be thinking only of abstinence? When I was pregnant and followed very strictly the '1 or 2 units once or twice a week' ( as it was then) I was in my ideal world - I learnt that actually a small glass of wine when iut for dinner was all I wanted (I would then get full and tired and that kne glass had fully satisfied me), one small glass of champagne at a wedding, and then having coherent conversations and waking uo hangover and GUILT FREE made my world a very very happy place. And it was am awakening, I drunk, and could look forward to a glass of wine, but in complete moderation with no consequences (I know some dispute re drinking in pg but I w sticking to the guidelines at the time, and don't want to have a conversation about that now)..so how have I let myself get back here?

I used ti be a very heavy smoker and I ave managed to stop entirely. I believe I can conquer my problems with alcohol, because I have done it with smoking (I don't underestimate how bloody awful it will be, I say this because I tell myself this to feel hopeful rather than 'can't do anything about it so may as well keep drinking).

My mum was/is an alcoholic but she has not drunk for 10 years or so. I admire her, but yet there were some awful awful times when I was younger which I still feel very very angry about. The one thing in the whole world that k want is to not do the same to my kids.

I a not sure the point of my post, I just know I have got to the point that I can say all this. I never thought I would even get this far. I know I have a problem - it has taken me a long time to accept this but I am now finally there. It is what to do now. I have read so many posts that say AA...but the thought of that terrifies me so much, that I think it would prevent me from tackling my problem. Is it not the case that there are all different kinds of treatment methods, including CBT? Should I start with my current therapist? Should I go back to the GP?

I am waffling, this is long and I am about to chicken out and delete and carry in drinking wine and watching the xfactor. I feel pathetic, but please be kind, I am very very very scared. And j have also (I hope) namechanged.
I guess I really want some advice on where to go next....

Thank you.

Goonatic Sat 17-Nov-12 21:05:33

Hello, how much do you drink? Have just posted on another thread, I drink three bottles of wine a week, thurs, fri and sat. Whilst I know this is too much, we are just in the habit of doing so and I kind of don't want to stop but part of me niggles, saying that it is excessive.
Your DH must be drinking with you or (I assume) yo wouldn't be able to hide it.

Has anything except for pregnancy stopped you in the past?
Well done for posting, I am probably in a slightly similar kind of place as you so may not be much help but there is a great support thread on here, I am sure one of them will find you soon..

tribpot Sat 17-Nov-12 21:06:37

You've made the first step. And there are plenty of us on the boards who will want to help you, who have been where you are right now. I'm going to post that and then write a longer post so you know someone is listening.

Somethinggottagive Sat 17-Nov-12 21:19:33

Thank you. Funny - I kept it together writing that post, very systematic getting it down, and reading your responses had made me collapse. The first acknowledgement that I have vocalised my problem and someone has heard.

I drink wine, used to love gin and tonic too but have cut that out as felt too much like it was mothers ruin. I used to drink every night, a bottle of wine. I have cut down in the past year and no longer drink during the week at home, but then I binge when I do - a bottle of wine typically if I am honest. Or, increasingly I find myself organising a last minute dinner with a friend so I 'can' drink in the evening ( because I am not allowed to at home - my rule).

I have without doubt made some progress, I accept completely that I have a problem. I have nights off a lot now (never ever ev used to). But then I binge drink when I am 'allowed' to drink. Far too drunk with my children in the house. Nothing bad has ever happened, but I feel if I don't stop it is only a matter of time. I never ever don't get up the next day and crack on, but I can feel shit. And more than anything it is really damaging my mental health and I am sure my physical health too.

My DH is lovely. He has tendencies to drink too much, but with a very stressful job and very long hours has it completely user control. He is kind and loving ...but is I guess a bit of an enabler?? I think I now KNOW I have an alcohol problem because of all I have read and thought about, whereas he (like so many others) wouldn't think it. He would think I was a heavy drinker, but would not define me as....gulp....an alcoholic. But I now think i am. I don't have control and I feel shit about it. And I don't want to be.

I think I want to know what my goal should be - moderation or abstinence. I feel a combination of genetics plus upbringing has brought me to this place (though I blame no-one) - and would it just be futile to aim for moderation? Or would I more likely be successulf than abstinence with a life of rollercoastering on and off the wagon?

Thank you so much.

tribpot Sat 17-Nov-12 21:21:51

Right, some things I definitely recognise - drinking fast, drinking wine. Can you take or leave other kinds of alcohol? It was always wine for me.

You should tell your CBT counsellor and your GP. You need to accept that this is real and it is happening - that way there's no way back to the place you are in now, where you are hiding it and terrified of it at the same time. I never admitted my drinking on MN, btw, even though I knew I needed to. I couldn't do it. Eventually I became very ill and when I went to see my GP at last he thought I was dying. I'm still recovering physically from that.

Your GP should do a liver function test to get an idea of how much damage you may have done. This may not show a problem because the liver is incredibly resilient, so you will need to manage that mentally (i.e. don't assume normal LFT = cocktail hour!) but at least you will know.

No-one can make you go to AA - as it happens, I don't - I think not least because I was simply so unwell when I stopped drinking I couldn't leave the bedroom, never mind the house to a meeting every day. (I was still working, up until the day I went to the surgery).

The book that I would really recommend you read - tonight - is Beat the Booze - this really helped me. It talks about the fact that some people can learn to drink in moderation again but at the moment that's not really the issue. You need to stop completely for a period of time so you can gain some clarity, your mind and body can start to heal (your anxiety will almost certainly diminish) and you can feel the benefits of sobriety. After that you can decide for yourself what you think the best option is longer term.

I know that stopping completely sounds very scary. But you are failing to control the drinking (as did I - big stylee) and you may well find stopping is easier, less exhausting, to try and manage.

The other scary thing you will need to do when you are ready is admit the problem to your loved ones. Again this is part of not being able to go back. I found it incredibly liberating and literally no-one has been judgemental about it.

Anyway, I think this post is probably a bit full-on and earnest - I read posts like it and thought 'well it's easy for you to say'. It isn't easy for me to say at all but I am nearly 18 months on from you. I never thought I could give up drinking for a week.

Keep posting - no-one here will judge you. There really are worse things in life than being snuggled up with a rather cheeky cup of lime and ginger tea on a Saturday night, trust me grin

hellhasnofurylikeahungrywoman Sat 17-Nov-12 21:23:56

The fear of telling will probably be the worst part. You've started the journey now and although I don't have any advice I do want to say I admire you for posting this and wanting to start that journey.

Somethinggottagive Sat 17-Nov-12 21:24:01

Tripbot....I want to shout 'Really??people in the same position??' I am so used to lying about my alcoholism, to myself, to others, and I a, so used to comparing my ability to control (or otherwise) my drinking to all my friends, everyone I meet, everyone at work occasions etc...to think there are some people that are in - or have been in - the same boat feels almost like too much to hope for (that I am not alone in being so f'ing powerless).

I just want to have this life so ruled by alcohol any more

Goonatic Sat 17-Nov-12 21:30:51

Gosh, we drink the same I think. I have had a couple of liver function tests and they were fine. It sounds like you have already started to take control of what you drink, canyou extend that control to one more day in the week, and then maybe another?

tribpot I am full of admiration.

I can't see a time when I will stop, but I don't really feel that I have a problem, I have started only drinking hot choc some Saturday's, to break the cycle, and because I can do that I kind of feel like I am ok. Does that make sense? There are also nights (within my three nights that we drink) that I sometimes don't feel like it, again, that makes me feel like I am more in control than I used to be.

I also have a soft drink sometimes before we start drinking wine, again,I think I am testing myself. Wow, this is more honest than I have ever been too. Good luck OP, I think you have made a great start. X

tribpot Sat 17-Nov-12 21:34:56

There are loads of us who were able to maintain the outward appearance of normality, although by the very end I was drinking in the mornings but literally that was only the last few months of a 20 year problem with alcohol. I said this on another thread recently - it sounds trite but the truth really will set you free. The only way to be free of these feelings is to admit to them.

You will need some support from your GP - exactly what will depend on how you find coming off the booze. Mine was very surprised I could detox without any assistance (I mean like tranquilisers to cope with the DTs), I don't really understand why myself. The thing I was most worried about was not sleeping. On the odd night when I hadn't drunk before I found it impossible to get to sleep until 2 a.m. because my brain would just whir and whir and refuse to shut down. Again, I don't know if it was because of my physical illness or what but I have never had a problem sleeping from that day to this. In the early days I would sleep at random times of the day and night and it's very important that you can get support to enable you to do things like that. My white noise app on the iPhone was very useful for helping my brain to shut down.

Keep posting. You're not alone.

tribpot Sat 17-Nov-12 21:45:34

Goonatic - this is drinkers' logic (I'm not remotely suggesting you are alcoholic): I can't see a time when I will stop, but I don't really feel that I have a problem. If you had no problem, it'd be no problem to stop ... smile One of my brothers always gives up booze in January (I had no idea how he could manage such a thing) and I would heartily recommend it to anyone, just to give it a try. One of the things it allows you to do is see what your triggers are - and they may not be the things you would expect. But 'habit' in the behavioural, rather than addiction, sense plays a massive part in how we 'forget' to drink the way we planned to.

Trying to give up forever is too scary. My GP told me he tells his patients to give up for a year and then see how they feel.

Btw I do think it is much harder to give up when you aren't physically ill from it. Is it really a problem if it doesn't seem to be doing physical damage? Well again - give up for a month, see how you feel about it then. And it can go south scarily quickly - I was basically completely well until a year before I stopped drinking. I was then mostly well for a further 6 months (excluding throwing up every day, I lost a shitload of weight). My drinking escalated as I could see how much worse the addiction was getting. That's extreme drinker's logic.

Goonatic Sat 17-Nov-12 21:50:11

Wow, thanks trib you have given me something to think about, I see your point totally. I think we are given examples of 'alcoholics' on tv etc and they are always non-functioning, so it is easy to exclude yourself from that bracket.
I think I might do what your brother does and see what happens.

How are you feeling OP?

Somethinggottagive Sat 17-Nov-12 21:55:54

Thank you all so much. Goonatic, I suspect I am worse than you. I have rules like 'I can drink in a Friday night' so would do something like go to a concert on a Friday, have a glass of en, get home and normal people would think 'lovely evening, go to bed' I will THEN drink 3 large glasses of wine. Because I can. Thre is little pleasure in that, I wake uo feeling shit physically and about myself.

Tribpot. Thank you. Yes, it is wine. Evil evil wine. I appreciate your post. A year ago, 6 months ago, I wuld have read tha, though woah woah woah and closed my iPad and carried on with my night and woken up in the morning thinking forget all that. But I appreciate it because I cannot cannot deny this any more. I had liver function tests in June and all was fine.. Basically, I went to the GP freaking out about my alcohol consumption but told my GP I was beside myself with worry (i was ) because I had drunk too much in the past. I made her feel my liver and asked her for a full blood screen. All results normal, BUT this is when she referred me for CBT for anxiety. So this (I realise) s my first step, but it was so tentative that I have managed t skirt the issue not only with the GP but now with my therapist too (though I have mentioned on several occasions, I guess hoping she would pick up the hook) that I do have an ongoing battle with my drinking.

The thing that makes me feel absolutely petrified about your post is telling the GP and telling loved ones. Telling my therapist doesn't scare me as much, so why would telling the GP? I have also had bulimia in the past, but this I have managed to deal with (I still occasionally have thoughts, but I have not acted on them in 5 years plus now). crazy as this sounds, I have never ever discussed this with my DH. Whether he doesn't know or is in denial, I don't know, but that's the way it is,. We are very close and happy (please don't tell me this can't be the case given wha I have just said) and I have told him horrendously awful stuff from my past, so it is now that that is the issue...I can and do deal with stuff (smoking, bulimia - though my mum acknowledged it with me, she wrote a letter, I wrote back and she trusted me to deal with it). Anyway, I am scared to have written all this.

Getting to the point of telling anyone, even MN, feels it has take 5 years...2 probably when I have Thought I may have a problem, 1 year of shit I am an alcoholic. I know I am high functioning....no-ne would ever think I was hungover, let alone had had a bottle or more of wine the previous night. I am beyond mortified when i feel I have 'exposed' myself by getting too drunk...so many others around me treat it as 'oh everyone gets drunk now and again' but yet I know I have ALWAYS been the one that is most pissed - but yet told so often that I am the life and soul of the party. So where does not drinking leave me?...lime and ginger tea on a Saturday night?? Finally, finally finally, that is where I want to be.

The message of 'absintence for now' is extremely helpful. That is my gut feeling, although I didn't know it until you said it. Like how can I go from this to moderation? That is what I need to do. Should I do it now? But I open u my diary and look at all the fun plans that n longer feel fun? And the one on one meals or drinks planned where I feel I am letting people down because I am not going to be putting the world to rights of a bottle of wine any more? Yet I don't want to tell people in case I fail...it took several attempts for me to finally quite smoking once and for all and I want t be realistic about alcohol (though that said, my mum did just give up one day).

I feel incredibly self indulgent. Blabbing away about my thoughts, my issues, my situation. How boring, and I am sorry. But I am extremely grateful for your responses. I am so scared. My DH is away tonight - v rare - which has facilitated this. But i am very scared of how I will feel tomorrow about all of this.

Goonatic Sat 17-Nov-12 22:06:04

No you are not boring, or self indulgent, you sound incredibly reflective and intelligent. I know exactly what You mean about looking through your diary and seeing things planned that you will need to make excuses for. What about saying - 'no I am cutting down, I will stick to lime and soda' or 'I don't want to drink tonight' and also, you are of letting them down, just saying that you don't want to drink shouldn't spoil someone's night.
I think you will be able to do this, maybe we should do it together!

Somethinggottagive Sat 17-Nov-12 22:07:46

Goonatic and tribpot, thank you both so much for posting. If not for MN I would think 'I am not an alcoholic because I do not drink in mornings, drink bottles of vodka etc etc' but I do not have control and so I know I am.
I don't believe I am physically ill from it, but I know I am mentally ill. Which almost makes the decision between moderation and abstinence harder...if physically ill abstinence becomes clearer.
I stopped for 3 weeks completely in June (after panic visit to GP - got tests results normal, back in the wine, what typical behaviour eh) Md no physical symptoms. Physically I think I can do it no problem, if I can mentally do it. I sort of know I can, but while forever seems too daunting, a limited time period feels like there is the promise of a binge at the end of it. In june, taking about giving uo booze 'for the time being' was helpful.
I appreciate so much yo posting your experience, given this is the first time I have spoken out, it means the world.
And goonatic, thank you too for talking to me. I suspect I am a bit further down the road from you, but it makes me feel less alone and I am very grateful.

Goonatic Sat 17-Nov-12 22:11:14

Mate, I think we actually sound very similar, but I have no anxiety about it.
Please keep in touch, pm me, we really could try together, how about a January abstinence?

Somethinggottagive Sat 17-Nov-12 22:13:21

Goonatic...your saying that not letting people down has given me a(nother!) moment of clarity: when I meet people for drinks/dinner, I feel let down if they are not drinking.....but then, I have an alcohol problem! So really, I shouldn't impose those feelings on others that don't...normal people probably don't feel let down if their friend shows up and says they are not drinking, they just think oh right fine, I'll just order a glass. (whereas I feel shit can't hide how much I have drunk because we are ordering bottles)! That, however small, feels a revelation!

Somethinggottagive Sat 17-Nov-12 22:16:50

I will definitely keep in touch goonatic, thanks! I am definitely up for a January abstinence, but I dont think that's enough for me....I sort of wish it was but I do think I am probably beyond that sad

Goonatic Sat 17-Nov-12 22:17:39

Well done, I can't believe how brave you have been posting this. You must feel a bit elated! Please do keep in touch. (don't mean to be non-mnetty!)

Goonatic Sat 17-Nov-12 22:19:14

Well let's start there and see what happens. tribpot can be our support if she doesn't mind. smile

OscarPistoriusBitontheside Sat 17-Nov-12 22:25:21

Well done Something, you've taken a very brave and courageous step tonight.

I don't have much to offer you but support. Acknowledging your problem is the hardest part in someways. I would speak to you therapist and take it from there.

aliasjoey Sat 17-Nov-12 22:25:54

well done for posting, its a brave first step.

if you want any support or advice please come and see us on the Brave Babes Battle Bus (we're on the relationships board, but thats a historical thing, we are really about drinking. or not drinking. or controlled drinking. and then there's the Sidecar, for those who fall out of the bus...)

good luck

tribpot Sat 17-Nov-12 22:26:06

Keep blabbing away - you absolutely must articulate the thoughts you've been suppressing, or diverting into anxiety. (Although your therapist I guess may see the anxiety as the cause and the drinking as a symptom rather than vice versa .. it probably doesn't really matter at this point - they're both problems).

I won't lie - going out to things is hard. I find restaurants very difficult, pubs less so (as I work with guys so when we go out they tend to drink beer, which doesn't trigger me). You can put the world to rights over lime and ginger tea! (This is it, btw - bloody good stuff. Mostly I prefer lunch-time things (as drinking less usual) and no friend has ever objected in the slightest to me not drinking.

The run-up to Christmas is a hard time to give up, but I do think you should start from now. Using the excuse of 'it'll be easier in January' is too easy. I am not going to most of my works things again this Xmas, I will go out for a refreshing glass of ginger beer (ginger beer is a top pub drink as long as you avoid the alcoholic ones, obviously!) and then leave them to it. Partly that's because I'm too tired in the evening to want to stay out and then drive home etc.

Do read the book, even if you do nothing else yet. I think the reason you might be more scared of telling the GP is because you know it will go on your 'permanent record' (rather than a confidential, therapist-specific medical record). In reality having it on record is helpful (if terrifying) and your GP record is confidential too. I wonder if you feel similarly about telling DH as well? I don't think mine ever really knew how bad the problem was, either.

dementedma Sat 17-Nov-12 22:34:19

I second what joey said about the Brave Babes thread in relationships.
Please join us there and meet some wonderful, non-judgemental people who just happen to drink too much. You will be very welcome there and get all the support you need.
waves to joey

BluelightsAndSirens Sat 17-Nov-12 22:38:01

Firstly I want to say thank you for posting such an honest thread.

Does alcohol cause anxiety? I only ask because I have been suffering with some terrible anxiety problems lately (on meds from GP) I'm not able to sleep without wine....

tribpot Sat 17-Nov-12 22:41:32

Btw I think this comment of yours goes right to the heart of it: There is little pleasure in that [drinking], I wake up feeling shit physically and about myself

That right there. You are drinking not for pleasure. The level of drinking, even the level of physical damage, is probably less important than that feeling.

It is hard to tell people when you're worried you might fall off the wagon. But nevertheless, the best way to succeed is to tell people, because then you have to publicly own a decision to fall off the wagon (and let's be honest, if you really want to fall off, you can do so without anyone knowing).

This does now lead to rather odd conversations with my friends and family where they will say 'so how's the ... health?' and I say 'you mean am I drinking?' and they say 'er well no I mean - yes but - ' (etc). There's no very tactful way of asking this question, they might as well not try to find one grin

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