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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.

BirdwithinaBird Sat 17-Nov-12 22:46:23

Tribpot nails it with Liberation and Freedom. I was highly functioning for years too, until the wheels fell off in spectacular style. Hiding it, planning it, drinking it, recovering from it, was a humiliating, shameful, guilt fest, but I just got beyond being able to do anything to even control it. Blackouts were my life. By my mid thirties I was a full blown alcoholic, the invisible line between heavy drinking and alcoholism had been crossed. Like Tribpot I was on morning fill ups and God only knows what else. I am sober now, long time sober, and really it is the stigma with this that is so frustrating. It's like most forms of abuse, no-one will talk about it, and yet that is the very thing that will take the taboo away. Empathy, support, for us is really the most important part.

I work with women who misuse alcohol now, none of us went to AA btw, lots of reasons for that, and just like this thread, they all support one another in rl, they know they are not alone, and it works like no other recovery programme.

Really well done for having the courage to post. xx

Somethinggottagive Sat 17-Nov-12 22:46:55

Thank you all, so very much.

Tribpot. Yy to the whole anxiety causing drinking! I think that's what she thinks, because my drinking did pick up (yet again) during my worst phases of anxiety. But I KNOW that alcohol is the problem. But I have lied (yet again) about that fact,.

And of course you are right re permanent record. I think if I tell my GP it is 'fact', if I tell my Therpaist it is 'my perception'. Sounds a bit bonkers. But as I write this I realise (another moment of clarity!!) that I am able to write all this BECAUSE if my CBT. So there's me thinking it's a waste of time because anxiety isn't this issue..but the whole basis of CBT, and all the 'what's the worst that can happen' type discussions has got me this far. What's the worst that can happen if I finally finally tell MN that I am an alcoholic. Now i just have to tell her. Can I really go in, after 5 sessions, with another 6 to go,and announce that all I have been saying has been covering the truth? That use this has helped with my anxiety, but actually - in tri's words that made me cry - the CBT has really set me free, to speak the truth, that alcohol is the f-ing evil that's the route of all my issues. I worry she will think she has been doing a terrible job until now? Or that she will not really acknowledge this - I like CBT but do find it v prescriptive - and skirt around that and get back to the anxiety stuff.

Tribpot - do you feel your friendships have shifted as a result of not drinking? My best friend is a heavy drinker, but yet is an incredibly core person to me and I am scared of losing the intimacy I have with her, and one or two others when I don't drink an more (which I have experienced first hand when pregnant....it does feel life isn't quite the same).

In my heart of hearts I know 'stopping for january' isn't enough for me. That is what normal or even heavy drinkers do, and I am beyind that. I need a long term solution.

The book...I just looked it up on amazon, but I dondt have a kindle, so I'll order it hard copy? I have on my book case allen carrs easy way to control drinking, bought about a week ago, and I opened it briefly today. It worked (with time) to stop my smoking, and actually I realise it is quite CBT-ish in it's ways - challenging the way you think about things. And the single thing that stops me from having a fag now...because I d still want one, but I never have one, is the sense of 'I am better off for not having one because everyone who has one would rather be on m position of not wanting one'. The difficulty is that this doesnt apply to alcohol because there are so so many normal people who are able to drink normally.

Thank you all again

tribpot Sat 17-Nov-12 22:48:56

Bluelights - some stuff here about the links between anxiety, depression and problem drinking.

Again, I totally felt the same: I couldn't cope with the stressors in my life without alcohol. Couldn't sleep, etc. I find in reality I am much better able to cope with things - and sleep - without alcohol. But it's scary as buggery to have to give up the one thing you know will 'help'.

HousewifefromBethlehem Sat 17-Nov-12 22:55:01

Just a quick hello from me. I remember feeling just as you do.

Someone up thread pointed out that it's less exhausting not to drink and I wholeheartedly agree.

Will post more tomorrow but am off to bed now.

BluelightsAndSirens Sat 17-Nov-12 22:55:34

trib I've tried hypno apps, white noise apps and sleeping tablets (tablets leave me a nasty taste in my mouth, not as bad as a raging hangover I suppose)

I'm thinking of hypnotherapy to help with the anxiety as I hate taking ads, small part of me thinks it is going to be the alcohol and stresful job <gulp>

HorsesDogsNails Sat 17-Nov-12 22:56:20
Somethinggottagive Sat 17-Nov-12 22:58:21

Cross posts, which are so incredibly helplful thank you. Two things stick out:

Bird - the Bloody Stigma. Absolutely. There is no stigma, nay, a reward, for giving up fags or losing weight, (both my previous battles) but yet alcohol and you get labelled an alcoholic (which i am fair enough but also don't want to wear that sticker).

And tri - exactly, that is where I am at. Some people - normal people - don't drink alone yet j get drunk alone. And I prefer that as I don't embarrass myself (bar checking m emails and texts the next morning but I M quite good now at minimising my feeling of guilt and not touching my phone on those nights - yet again, there is so much in my life I can control, the single bastard icant is alcohol).

I dint yet feel a release, I feel shit where will this go and I still feel very very tempt to shut myself down again...I want ti get to a point where I have come too far ti go back, yet without telling others, I am just not ready, this while thing has been very gradual and just writing about it is a bit unbelievable for me.

tribpot Sat 17-Nov-12 23:02:20

Somethinggottagive - I think you might find some interesting stuff on the NHS Choices site - CBT might be beneficial for the problem drinking as well. What I would do with your therapist is be completely up front: you have been deliberately concealing from her the fact you have a problem with alcohol and the sessions you have had have allowed you to realise it's time to come clean. She will know how good addicts are about covering their tracks (and frankly, does anyone expect to get to the nub of any problem in 5 sessions of CBT?) - she will have seen it all before. I know you may feel a bit daft 'er, right, there's this other thing I forgot to mention' but better daft than wasting another 6 sessions talking about the wrong problem.

Re: the book being a Kindle one - you can download a Kindle app to your iPad, or phone - you don't need an actual Kindle. This also means you don't have to wait / have the excuse of waiting for the hard copy to arrive smile

In terms of friendships - my life is already quite distant from those of my friends because my DH is chronically ill and in a wheelchair. So in that sense, being 'different' from them in another way hasn't been any worse. It's possible (even probable) you may find your relationship with your best friend changes if she finds your revelations uncomfortably close to home, but that's a choice you have to make. Lots of my friends are happy not to have a drink when we go out - even to the pub (this tends to be when it's just me and one of them, most of them have too much of a herd mentality to forego the beers when one of the guys would see them). Fortunately I was never a 'social problem drinker' really - in that I didn't need anyone else geeing me up to drink, or particularly drink more if I was out with one person than another - most of my bad drinking was done at home.

Again, you can only try. You will need to focus on you and on your recovery, and that may mean not having so much contact with people who aren't at the same place on their journey - or at least perhaps changing things up a bit so you see them in situations where drinking is less likely.

tribpot Sat 17-Nov-12 23:15:05

Bluelights - you may find the sleeping improves if you come off the booze for a longer period of time. (I know I keep saying this - but it is true grin). But it takes a while - you need some kind of support whilst you're doing it so you can just crash out when you're exhausted.

And Somethinggottagive - you're scared of where this thread might take you, what you might admit. Bear in mind, you're in control. You have the thread deleted, you can name change and none of us will ever know. Even if any of us would blame you - and I think you can tell we wouldn't - you have no idea whether we're actually a bunch of hairy handed truckers with vodka on IV drips just pretending to be sober grin. I would let the thread stand for a few days and see how you feel.

RedRosie Sat 17-Nov-12 23:24:02

Somethinggottagive - this isn't me, but was someone close to me - my DM. Its all in the recognition of the problem ... Trib's advice is All Good.

tribpot Sat 17-Nov-12 23:30:31

Rosie - hello to you! I was actually popping back on to say my other piece of advice is the therapeutic value of knitting. I think this has been a massive help to me in the last year - keeps the hands busy (and tends to go better when you're sober!) and lets the mind wind down much more productively than just watching TV or whatever.

Somethinggottagive Sat 17-Nov-12 23:33:51

Thank you all. Tribpot, if and when I get better, you are my very first step for which I am weepingly grateful. I have to tell my therapist. I am closer than ver ever before ....I just have to say itl. How have I got myself into therapy yet STILL deny my alcohol problem? Madness, but I must. Do I just say 'um, could we drop the anxiety thing and focus on my (previously never mentioned) alcoholism??).
I have posted on brave babes, thank you.
Redrosie - that is very pertinent, it was My DM too, and now is me too sad

tribpot Sat 17-Nov-12 23:53:05

Btw, I had therapy and never admitted the alcohol problem - I stopped going after a few sessions (I suspect mainly for this reason).

If you think telling your therapist might be too hard, why not write it down and ask her to read it at the start of a session? I think it's genuinely important to admit you have been concealing it. The act of hiding is what makes the rest possible.

Keep going - we all falter and fall over on this journey. But you've taken an important step on the road tonight.

tribpot Sun 18-Nov-12 12:55:22

How are you doing today, OP?

aliasjoey Sun 18-Nov-12 13:17:31

thanks horse for posting the link to the Bus - I don't know how to do links! <showing my age>

Somethinggottagive Sun 18-Nov-12 16:15:59

Hello I am doing well thanks! Am as determined as I was last night and am feeling relieved, and pleased with myself for taking this first step.

I posted on the brave babes last night and have just updated there now. Thank you so much for the link.

And I have ordered the book too - thank you.

Thank you for your honesty and support and for picking me up and carrying me forward last night. I don't yet feel the world is a brighter place, but i believe there is one day soon when it will!

tribpot Sun 18-Nov-12 22:19:07

Well done, Something. I had a look at the thread and I think limiting your social events whilst you work through this is a sensible idea. It's very interesting that you are convinced you will be letting people down if you don't drink. (Would they be that fussed?).

I would say even if you want to try and control your drinking at home, I wouldn't attempt it at a night out - the ability to say no to another drink weakens with every one that you have.

Great to hear that you're feeling positive, you've done yourself potentially the biggest favour you ever will. Go you!

Somethinggottagive Sun 18-Nov-12 22:46:55

Tribpot, thank you. That really is such an important question re letting people down. Most - the majority - will not feel let down. I realise I assume they will do, because that is how i feel. If I have friends over for dinner, I feel let down if one of them drives. But then, i feel that way because I am an alcoholic! So crazy to assume they will feel that way too. I do see that now.
But the bigger events - like my work Christmas do and our school Christmas party, I am usually at the centre of things, being loud and funny, always the one dancing etc. i can be loud and funny akers without alcohol - over coffee with friends, in the office with work - but friends know I 'like a drink' and at parties being fun and boozing go hand in hand - so I do need to challenge these sorts of assumptions in my own mind I think.

And, although as I have said in my other post I know without question my life without alcohol will be better than my life with - I also know there will be situation like these parties that I will miss booze desperately. It will be far less fun as a non-drinker than as a drinker. or at least that is how it feels until I challenge those thoughts and work through them.

Your saying that it is so much harder to control when out (i agree) - so you suggest i go for total abstinence in those situations that I can't avoid?

I do feel positive. I am hoping that this is my rock bottom and that I have at least put the brakes on things getting any worse.

BluelightsAndSirens Sun 18-Nov-12 23:06:14

I've read through your link tribpot and so scared to say it all adds up.

I'm on ads for anxiety and did tell my GP about my drinking but. Don't think he realises where I'm at.

I think alcohol may be causing my anxiety, it's awful but I can't live without sleep and to sleep I need alcohol or sleeping tablets and. Don't like sleeping tablets but I'm scared to run out because they won't give me more....

Stop the roller coaster, I want to get off.....

tribpot Sun 18-Nov-12 23:34:19

Something - yeah, I'd go for abstinence when you're out. Is it less fun sober .. hmm, depends on the night. Some nights can be very mellow and everyone tends to pace themselves. Other nights I've been horrified at how hammered everyone seems by 6 pm and wonder how the hell they'll keep going smile

Bluelights - I think you may need to tell your GP you're self-medicating with alcohol. I honestly couldn't sleep without booze either - I totally get your concern. But this is probably a facet of alcohol dependency and it's not a solution to sleeplessness. Have a look at this.

blanksquit Mon 19-Nov-12 11:33:36

Hi only just saw your thread. I don't know if anybody else has mentioned it but there's a really good website called brighteyescounselling which has a forum for people with all kinds of alcohol difficulties. It has a kind of running 7 day thread for abstinence, then a 14 day one - there is loads of support there and a wealth of useful advice. It's anonymous too.

I have finally managed to cut down by giving up wine. I drink G&T now and usually I'll only have 2 or sometimes 3 of an evening. I really do think wine is lethal because it's just so quaffable.

I recently went to a social event and was very surprised to find I wasn't the drunk person in the room. I had a very sedate two drinks and left feeling very smug. But the best thing was I got up the next day feeling fantastic and raring to go.

Best of luck with it all. I know that alcohol makes me extremely anxious the next day. It's a lovely feeling to be rid of that anxiety and just feel happy again.

Somethinggottagive Mon 19-Nov-12 12:13:36

Thank you all. Tribpot - I am/was the one that is hammered by 6pm and just keeps on going sad but I don't want to be that one again ever.

Thank you blanksquit. Yes, I have reached a point where the high from that first delicious sip of booze (when I have an evening ahead of me to drink what I want) is now less of a high than that which I feel when I wake up and can remember everything I said, did, texted, etc. The stress that that causes me, plus generally feeling a sense of panic that someone is going to mention something I can't immediately recall - which would be a result of me being drunk (when quite often it isn't, or I haven't been told it in the first place) leaves me in such a generally awful way.

Not to mention the general anxiety about everything else.

Well done to you for finally managing to cut down.

tribpot Mon 19-Nov-12 12:44:23

Something - the 'hammered by 6' thing was everyone, not one or two individuals. I think we were in a place with 2 for 1 cocktails, nightmare. Anyway, I think this comes under the heading of 'normal' drinking rather than our kind smile (Does that make it better .. not sure).

The fear of what might have happened during the memory losses is one that I remember (er, can you remember not remembering? Anyway - that). Horrible having to brazen it out at work the next morning wondering what you might have done or what someone might comment on.

Somethinggottagive Mon 19-Nov-12 19:12:58

Just brief, as DC need attention, but already the desperation I felt when I wrote this thread is waning just slightly - I guess as I feel less depressed after almost 2 days with no booze, and the temptation to think again 'is it really so much if a problem?'. I know in my heart of heart it is - hence posting now to keep my momentum going. I shallnt drink tonight, and that is all I will aim or right now.

Even now, the utter horror of memory loss is awful. I almost have to speak out loud to block my mind from thinking about it. I don't just think of what I said to friends, but of how strangers mus have perceived me as I try to get home etc...as I said before, I have always made my way home sadly...but it is without doubt a 'there but by the grace if God' feeling about that....this 'luck' that I have to date cannot last forever. I must take control.

Dc fighting and shouting , must go, but feeling bit more motivated just recalling some of the reasonS to stop.

tribpot Mon 19-Nov-12 20:05:16

Sounds like your brain is testing your resolve, Something. Mine did this (at least, this is how I rationalised it) by making me dream about having one drink and then completely panicking about what I could do to make it right because I knew I didn't want to have drunk. Then as time went on the dreams became more about wanting more than one drink but not being able to have one. Also a nightmare. Like a kind of 'remember, this is what you could go back to' warning.

As I said above, if you had no problem with drinking, not drinking wouldn't be a problem smile The fact you're trying to rationalise why it would be okay to is the reason why it's not okay to. We can always find reasons to drink. Finding reasons not to is harder.

A good opportunity to look at your triggers as well. Can you isolate what it is that's set your thinking off tonight? Is it a regular Monday night thing? A (quite understandable) reaction to the children in the arsenic hour? Is a slight panic about not having had a drink for a number of nights? You've decided not to drink tonight, and sensibly you're not thinking about tomorrow. I think if you can get through the 'danger zone', the hours in which you'd normally start drinking, and the activities that you associate with drinking, whether that's cooking or relaxing after bed time or whatever, the anxiety should ease later on.

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