I know I am - its just hard!(26 Posts)
Ok so really could do with some advice! For years I have somewhat 'used' alcohol as a stress reliever. Let me say that I'm not alcohol dependent but the relationship has been problematic in the past. Less so know, but I do drink wine everyday, maybe a couple of glasses. More on a Friday.
However I really struggle to limit myself and it gets quite stressful! A few months ago I had a bit of a breakdown. I totally stopped drinking as I wanted to give my recovery the best chance of working and couldn't bare the thought feeling suicidal again.
I changed medication and felt a lot better. I started drinking alcohol again, not in huge amounts, never get drunk but enough to perhaps stop the medication from working to its full capacity. I'm starting for feel a bit rubbish again.
Partner thinks I should completely stop to give my medication a chance to work properly. I know hes right but given my tricky relationship with booze, its going to be hard. I'm scared and I don't know why. I want to be free of alcohol, but just don't know how to manage stress without it. (I have a very stressful home life but this is for another thread!)
My partner doesn't drink loads but when he does he can stop after one pint with no stress or issues. I can't, I have to make a huge effort not to carry on, and it does occupy my thoughts. I often don't go to social events through fear I may drink too much and feel terrible. I just wish I could be like him - he doesn't really understand that 'just don't have it' isn't that easy for me.
I suppose I'd just like to hear from those who have managed to give up, those who don't drink and feel the benefits from not doing so. Any advice is welcomed. I suppose I'm scared if I don't stop, Ill slip back into my old ways - I'm controlling it for now but for how long?
Thank you guys x
"I have a very stressful home life but this is for another thread!"
I don't think you can separate them. You need to reduce the stress. Alcohol is just paper over the cracks, you'll find a different destructive paper if not booze.
I don't think there's any advice people can give you that will make those feelings disappear. It would be safer for you to take professional advice and get some support while you go through a process of changing your habits.
I dont know what would be the most effective route for you to take, but if you look at how people quit smoking that might be a good place to start.
Its a habit, you don't need it you just think you do. It doesn't actually make you feel better, it just makes you feel less worse.
It is possible to change your habits. Every time you find yourself thinking about how deprived you feel because you didn't have another drink, remind yourself there is no last drink. If you'd had another drink those feelings would still be there, wishing you'd had another drink.
Then make a deliberate effort to focus your attention on to something else that makes you feel good. Picture your DP smiling at you. Thats all you need to do, no guilt trip or lectures. End the thought process on something positive.
There isnt going to be a quick fix for this. Its going to be a process of changing habits and the way you think about them.
Didn't want to read and run!
I have been teetotal most of my adult life so can't really identify with the need thing but I can say that I don't ever feel that I am missing out. I have had my car keys confiscated by well meaning people who think I am drunk because I am capable of being a clown sober. I was sober on my wedding day and had an absolute blast us being the last to leave!
From your post, I don't think you need anyone to tell you that alcohol is a problem for you. I think you already feel that. Cutting down sounds like putting yourself through unnecessary torture and maybe stopping completely is the best way to get yourself back in control?
Would AA be a possibility? Afaik it is just as much for people who are at risk of alcoholism as for those who are addicted. It may sound extreme but although the thought of giving up forever is frightening to you, the thought of living every day with this internal struggle sounds far worse to me
I'm scared and I don't know why. I want to be free of alcohol, but just don't know how to manage stress without it.
If the thought of giving up alcohol causes you this much stress and anxiety, you ARE alcohol dependent. Re-read what you wrote. Alcohol occupies your thoughts, it prevents you from going to social events because you're worried you'll drink too much. I believe you're an alcoholic and I think you need help to manage this. I really hope you seek it because you deserve to be free of the anxiety this causes you.
Thanks for your replies so far.
Aqua - yes, I think you are probably right. Just because I'm not downing vodka all day doesn't mean I'm not dependent. I'm not physically dependent but perhaps emotionally so - if that makes sense?
Its hard to describe my home life without outing myself, but put it this way, two of my children had very specific needs and are registered disabled and its exhausting. I gave up my job six years ago to be a SAHM and never went back because of the revelations and the diagnosis of my children. I have always worked, been a very social person and find being at home increasingly hard. But the thought of returning to work, or finding another outlet for myself seems impossible right now. I'm exhausted beyond belief.
I have given up alcohol before - obviously when pregnant, and another time for about 3 months. I was alot happier actually. This is why none of this fear makes sense. It should be an easy decision, its just not.
I suppose I look forward to 'winding down' with a drink- not only that but it blurs the edges of how I feel. Makes things easier to bare, even if its only a temporary fix.
I can't believe how emotional I am getting writing this!
If the thought of giving up alcohol causes you this much stress and anxiety, you ARE alcohol dependent
Yup. If it's negatively impacting your life, and you are unable to stop or control it, then you have a problem. I would seek outside help. AA worked for me (nearly 16 years sober now), but other ways work for other people.
Do you set very high standards for yourself, especially in how you deal with the children with disabilities?
Do the standards apply not just to doing your best, but feeling that you must be emotionally invested in doing your best for them?
I really empathise and think my relationship with alcohol has been similar in the past. It's having something for 'you' in easy reach at the end of the day that just makes everything more bearable, isn't it? Which is fine, until you get to the point that you can't contemplate an evening without it.
Your life is stressful - is there anything you can do to reduce the stress? Counselling, respite for the DCs? You have a partner - can you get out even one evening a week to do something non-pub related, gym, swim, social group for carers?
Can you replace the glass of wine moment with something else? Really good chocolate, a 20 minute yoga session (yoga with Adrienne on youtube is brilliant), MNing?
I stopped drinking in between Christmas and new year 2016. I was a heavy drinker (by some standards) and I drank daily . Looking back I was using it as an emotional crutch.
Best thing I ever did, after giving up smoking! I won't touch it now, I dont want to slip back into the bottle a night habit. I simply choose not to drink.
Yup. If it's negatively impacting your life, and you are unable to stop or control it, then you have a problem. I would seek outside help. AA worked for me (nearly 16 years sober now), but other ways work for other people
Well done! This is an amazing achievement! I feel proud on your behalf!
*Do you set very high standards for yourself, especially in how you deal with the children with disabilities?
Do the standards apply not just to doing your best, but feeling that you must be emotionally invested in doing your best for them*
My god you have described me completely - yes, absolutely this. My whole being rests on whether they have had a good day, how Ive dealt with it, if Ive spent time with them. The guilt is never ending.
Xmas is always a time I think about giving up - well done! Did you seek help or just stop on your own?
Soberistas might be for you as it's a community of mainly women who also have problems with alcohol (and with kids, husbands, life in general).
You might find very similar stories there.
It is free for some resources on the site, but it is a paid subscription site I think beyond that- so not like MN!
Its such a vicious circle because even a glass of wine can make you more tired and depressed the next day
I don't think you should do this alone OP, could you talk to your GP and also look into CBT? CBT really helped me give up. I wasn't drinking every day but I didn't have that 'off switch' where people stop after one and I was jealous of people who did. There's also history of addiction/ alcoholism in my family and I didn't want to end up like my mum so I got some help. Maybe check out the Brave Babes Battle Bus threads on the relationships board, too? Best of luck to you
Do you have any help from social services? If not, contact them ASAP to ask for it.
stop feeling bad.we all have ways to cope and its odd how most of the time they are negative coping mechanisms.but that's just how it feels.we reach for something when we aren't in control but this perpetuates it because the underlying issue isn't sorted,just stemmed,plugged for a short while by this other thing.be it drugs,drink,eating.
but its not your bad its a bad situation.if you fall off the wagon or don't cope so well with the kids one day or yearn for drink when you know it doesn't help.stop thinking your bad.change the thinking to the situation being so. you alrady hold enough guilt and burden on your shoulders.
right now your struggling,and I think your very brave to even try and talk about it,never mind wanting to stop.
no matter how irrational things are from the 'sensible' thinking we have when you right in the middle of a shi*tstrom and panic and fight or flight kicks in its very hard to keep that sensible head on when all you ahce for is for it to stop.hence drink o please!
again that doesn't make you wrong.its how you feel.its hurting that ok.you need to try and sit with that hurt and hold yourself.allow yourself to really cry in the middle of the storm. "this is how I'm feeling.this fecking hurts" and then calm calm calm it all down so intead of feeling it then "quick fight or flight get this gone I can tdo this I'm failing I'm a failure,i fail at drinking at being a mum at being a human.im bad this IS SO BADDDDDD!" wow.all of a sudden you are breathing insanely your heart is pounding and your a million miles away from the problem that started this current outburst.and all your left with is panic and a need to stop it.drink.
I really have found the key to be that gap.that gap between the feeling and the response and breathing into it.halting.stop.and breathe it down.
try searching youtube for some breathing techniques.
bodyscan meditation has been essential for me.its the stop.that halt in the reaction.that then once calmer you can see the situation."hang on did I just nearly drink over not getting dc socks in the right order" your able to see clearer and aren't blinded by the lingering sham or badness that comes from reacting to inniitial feeling threats.
I'm not making sense.it does in my head I promise.
to sum up breathing,calming.sitting with it accepting it.talking to myself like I'm a hurting child or friend.feeling whateve rit is and letting it be.then move onwards in kindness. instead of wanting to flee and shame myself for everything that goes to pot.
I feel for you OP. I can't comment on drinking because I'm teetotal and never did have a problem with it other than overdoing it when I was a teen before losing interest.
However, I think this is akin to smoking. When I smoked (about 20 a day), I used to look at people who could smoke just on a night out, one or two and then not do it again for however long before they went out again. I used to envy them so much. I knew I was totally hooked on cigarettes but would have loved to have been like them (like your partner).
The only way out is to quit. Stop drinking because if you think you have a problem with it it's one of those things that you'll never be able to pick up and put down like other people (like your partner) can. You'll have to just stop.
I quit smoking using Allan Carr's book. I don't know if there's one for drinking but to me, these two addictions are the same and your post resonated with me so much.
I really wish you well and hope you can find the thing that holds you steady whilst you quit drinking because you will have to quit rather than decrease it. I'll never be able to have even one cigarette again because I'd be right back there. I think this is possibly the same for you with a drink.
If you can do this though, I promise you that it's worth it. The feeling of freedom is immense and you can hold onto it always. Get whatever help you need to get there.
"My god you have described me completely - yes, absolutely this. My whole being rests on whether they have had a good day, how Ive dealt with it, if Ive spent time with them. The guilt is never ending."
Sorry I did hit that nail on head. My cousin has an adult son with Down's, you sounded a little similar.
It's not sustainable. You aren't doing your children the best by making things so hard for yourself. I don't know what the best path is for you to be less drained, but it probably starts by recognising that you need to become less invested. You can still do a fantastic job for them, without having to be so emotionally invested.
I can’t believe how emotional I’m getting over your posts!! Everyone has been so kind and understanding. I suppose I thought I’d get flamed.
I think I’m also emotional because I know what I have to do. It’s the end of the road for me and this relationship with alcohol.
We don’t qualify atm as our case is not a priority! We’ve had this a lot when trying to obtain help, particularly for the oldest son. Our local children’s services are shocking.
We are paying for help for the children privately atm.
Have they actually done a formal care assessment, OP? The fact that your local social services claim you don't follow doesn't necessarily mean that you don't - they tend to say so to fob people off.
The feeling of trying to limit alcohol, feeling bad about drinking, worrying about it etc. is exhausting! You know you can stop because you’ve done it before, and once you’ve stopped for a while you’ll naturally find new things that help you unwind at the end of the day. I know how daunting it can feel and about your hesitation to stop because it’s become a crutch, but you’ll feel a lot freer without having to think about your relationship with drinking.
Lots of people recommend the Jason Vale book about quitting alcohol. It helps you to look at alcohol in a different way, so you won’t feel you’re missing out by not drinking x
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