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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) 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.

tribpot Tue 20-Nov-12 13:33:41

I think it's far more common than we realise. Because alcohol is so pervasive in our society (as you'll start to notice when you're not drinking it!) it's pretty easy to cross the line between drinking and problem drinking. Its ready availability in supermarkets means it's very easy to drink in private as well. (Not that I'm advocating its removal from supermarkets - I used to live in Sweden where the sale of alcohol is much more controlled, and it didn't stop me, or virtually anyone else, from drinking too much!)

If you have the chance to get a healthcheck through work, it's worth doing partly for the horror stories you can hear from healthcare professionals. (Admittedly the guy who did my last one used to be a rehab nurse in Glasgow). He said that in his experience, women could very quickly go past the point of no return with drinking - at a level that many men would be able to sustain for many years. He had seen women go into rehab with basically no chance of survival sad

Now I'm not suggesting any of us, even I, are in imminent danger of dying in rehab. But I think we would all have wanted to address the problem sooner if there were better ways of measuring the amount of damage being done. My PCT has just launched a campaign about drinking and it features an 'ageing calculator' (click on the clock to access it). It takes a massively unflattering picture of you and then shows you how even more massively unflattering it would be if you did ten years of hard drinking grin

I also think it's very, very easy - unless you are an exceptionally light drinker - to be drinking over the recommended units in a week. Even if it's only a bit over.

Somethinggottagive Tue 20-Nov-12 13:05:59

Thank you presceccoilove (I like your name - I love it too). That is inspiring. Very good luck to you too. So many of us, it is so amazing to suddenly know I am not alone.

presceccoilove Tue 20-Nov-12 11:14:16

my friend told me the other day he had stopped drinking for over 3 months, now this is a hardened drinker who has drunk for 30 plus years, talk about shocked, he has lost weight, he looked good, he was happy, he has had an addiction for so long I could not believe he could ever stop. But he has and is now driving his 'drinking' friends to the pub. So I thought to myself, he has done this all on his own, no help, can I do it? To right I can, and I am going to take his inspiration and help myself as I also have a wine problem, I love it, but I know it is bad for my health. I keep thinking if he can do it, so can I.
Just wanted to share this with you OP. Good luck.

tribpot Mon 19-Nov-12 21:44:12

Yes, alcohol-free beer at breakfast would be deeply odd, wouldn't it?! In theory nothing wrong with it but in reality just quite wrong smile

I didn't drink normal beer either, so did think about having the alcohol-free one but - as I say, personal preference - decided against.

Somethinggottagive Mon 19-Nov-12 21:31:18

I wondered that re the alcohol free beer. Thing is I do not drink normal beer - and I would never drink alcohol free wine yuk! So it sort of is less of a substitute. But what I like about it is that it still feels a treat at the end of the day. Although it is alcohol free I would never have it at a time of day that I would not have alcohol (eg breakfast or lunchtime when kids at school) which I would with tea, coke, water, OJ or anything else that I would Substitute for alcohol. Which is why it works so well to beat that demon craving during that kids gone to bed hour. Perhaps it is ok as a crutch for now?

Am on to the tea now!

tribpot Mon 19-Nov-12 21:13:24

Great - well, that's something to aim for, the drinking nightmares grin

As a personal preference, I wouldn't drink an alcohol substitute; in my case I think it would set the associations off again. And alcohol-free wine is an abomination anyway!

Plenty of time to think about how best to tackle the dinner party in the day time when you will be less anxious about it.

Somethinggottagive Mon 19-Nov-12 21:06:34

Tribpot - that is so weird! I have that with smoking. I often dream I am smoking and wale up livid with myself to think I have blown it all- only to feel overwhelmed with relief when I realise it was just a dream! Oh to have that with booze!

Totally fine with not drinking tonight. Have had an alcohol free beer, about to eat and Ihave no craving. I am worried about Friday when we are going to friends for dinner. It is billed as a v boozy night and so am worried about it now. But today is today.

Basically 10 days ago I would be SO looking forward to this night - though also anxious re how much of the alcoholic me I would 'expose', but now I feel a) how will i manage but perhaps more strongly b) I feels sad that this will no longer be a massive fun night. I won't be the me they expect me to be. But then...I only have totl think of how I would feel on sat morning as a result of uncontrolled drinking....

Thank you tribpot.

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.

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 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 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 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.

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.

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.

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.....

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.

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 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!

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>

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

How are you doing today, OP?

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.

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 23:30:31

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.

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 23:15:05

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.

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.

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