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Alcohol support

Struggling to beat addiction.

48 replies

bulbnation · 05/01/2022 00:53

Hello everyone, I've been doing a lot of reading on here over the last year or so and tonight I'm really having a hard time.

Three years ago my life went totally to shit basically and I used alcohol to cope. I just gave up.

I've now cut down my units but the number is still HUGE. Like shocking huge. I drank too much before all this but not on this level.

I obviously didn't think it would be easy but the emotional side is so hard. I either feel anxious, ill, miserable, flat or irritable and alcohol is like a constant dangling carrot that makes me feel calm and mildly alright.

I've tried talking to the GP and been to therapy but nothing seemed to really help.

I get that alcohol abuse exacerbates and creates mental health issues but I've had a lifetime of mental health problems and it's never been as bad as this despite all the improvements I have managed to make.

This morning I got up and had a healthy breakfast but then something minor pissed me off and I had a glass of wine. After some of the things that have happened to me in life I feel like I deserve it. I know that's ridiculous but that's how I think at the moment. It's like my thought process gets totally taken over.

Some things have happened in my life that have caused huge amounts of stress and upset. I know everyone has sad times and bad experiences but trust me some of these are fairly extreme. Three years ago the levels of stress were enormous and it seems to have tipped me over an edge somehow. I used to be a very capable person and now stress causes my mind to just shut itself off. I don't even get outwardly or visibly stressed/angry. If anything I'm like a robot. I just silently go get drink and think to myself that I need/deserve it.

I know people might say I'm just making excuses to drink and I'm not discounting that possibility but at the same time it doesn't feel that way. I really don't need an excuse to be honest.

I've not had much today/tonight (by my standards obviously) and I just feel awful, but I feel better for having typed this out.

Can anyone relate to feeling like this?

OP posts:
parchedjanuary · 05/01/2022 02:29

Yes I can relate to how you feel. I was almost a bit shocked to read your post, because I have just literally made my own post, and the feelings and facts sound so similar to yours!

It's a bit of a nightmare to be honest. I can't really advise you because I'm struggling in a similar way. But I don't want you to give up hope, and I don't want myself to either.

We are not alone. We can do this.

Nothingsfine · 05/01/2022 10:13

Please don't read this as preachy but try and listen to what I'm saying.

You say you've had loads of shit happen in your life so you deserve to numb the pain with drink. Let me try and reframe it for you. You've had loads of shit happen to you, so you deserve to live a full, calm, happy life. You deserve not to drink. Your body and mind deserve you not to drink.
I know how easy it is to justify drinking, believe me. I haven't had it easy at all, and I used drink to help me get through very hard times. I also drank to relax, to celebrate, because the kids were in bed. You get the picture.
I honestly can't tell you how different I feel now. The anxiety has reduced in a big way. Not going to pretend I don't struggle but the ability to manage things is vastly improved by a baseline of calm that I never had before. Plus, I sleep. Every night. Its amazing.
I think there will always be an excuse to drink. I have lots going on right now including the imminent death of my DC's father from alcohol related liver disease. But I've chosen to step away from it and deal with it in a healthier way.
One day at a time is the only way.
Good luck.

YourenutsmiLord · 05/01/2022 10:22

Dare a book by Barry McDonagh might help with the anxiety.
You could also meditate everyday and take exercise outside if you can.
All this just sounds like wooo but you will actually feel better doing these things. Then perhaps move to more exercise.
These are all boring things but they do help if you stick at them.

rumred · 05/01/2022 16:40

30 day sobriety solution is working for me at the moment. Not easy but I find the structure helpful
And loads of sober podcasts - janey Lee grace is older and feels relatable to me. I find listening to people who are v different not as helpful

Redburnett · 06/01/2022 22:40

I have just watched 'Rain in my heart' on iplayer. It is shocking and depressing but it helped reinforce my decision to stop drinking.

bulbnation · 08/01/2022 15:27

@Nothingsfine Thank you for replying, don't worry, you don't sound preachy at all. Well done on your recovery, I'm sorry about your kid's dad, that must be really hard.

I do accept what you're saying, it's the power of the reaction/emotion that makes me think that way at the time. I keep thinking about what you said about deserving not to drink, that did click and I'm trying to put that thought to the front of my mind.

Anxiety is absolutely grim. I do have some techniques to control it but there are peaks where it gets too much for those. It's nice to think about a future where it's at least manageable.

OP posts:
Nothingsfine · 08/01/2022 16:02

[quote bulbnation]@Nothingsfine Thank you for replying, don't worry, you don't sound preachy at all. Well done on your recovery, I'm sorry about your kid's dad, that must be really hard.

I do accept what you're saying, it's the power of the reaction/emotion that makes me think that way at the time. I keep thinking about what you said about deserving not to drink, that did click and I'm trying to put that thought to the front of my mind.

Anxiety is absolutely grim. I do have some techniques to control it but there are peaks where it gets too much for those. It's nice to think about a future where it's at least manageable.[/quote]
Honestly, I'm a hugely anxious person and the biggest two improvements I've seen since stopping drinking are sleeping a full night and waking up without anxiety. The two are clearly linked. I feel a calmness I haven't felt probably ever. There used to be a gnawing hole in my stomach that I filled with alcohol, cigarettes, junk food, you name it. But it never really went away until now.

bluejelly · 08/01/2022 16:05

Have you had any therapy? I think it could help you process the pain in your life.

bulbnation · 08/01/2022 16:41

@parchedjanuary We may be struggling but we are trying and we're definitely not alone in this. Smile

Someone told me once that for all the times you feel bad you have to try and push those negative feelings away and when you feel good you have to basically jump on that and run with it. So if I have a good day or a good hour even I get on and try to make the most of it and I try not to worry too much about how I'll feel later on.

OP posts:
bulbnation · 09/01/2022 13:44

@YourenutsmiLord I've heard of Dare, I'll have another look at it.

OP posts:
Savboozer · 09/01/2022 14:44

I hear you and am in the same situation myself. Horrendously overweight from drinking wine most days and crying into my glass. I have been trying to find the 'bus' sobriety threads but they seem to have petered out. I have been drinking since I was 14 to cover up unhappiness. I have admitted it today to my best friend who can drink like a fish or not! I can't do that. I went to AA four years ago but was horrendously embarrassed to meet people who knew friends of mine. I recently lost my job through a sham redundancy and I am drinking more. I need help but my family are difficult. I wish you well.

PromisesMeanNothingSue · 15/01/2022 09:28

I can very much relate to this, although my drinking wasn’t quite at this level (ie no day drinking for me). I’ve also struggled with depression and anxiety since my teens, having been on (mostly) and off antidepressants since my teens. I’ve been trying to moderate for many years, but always went back to square one fairly quickly.

This time round, something has profoundly shifted in me, and I’ve finally (99.99%!) accepted that moderation isn’t ever going to be possible for me. For me, the process looked like this…

Drinking as usual, feeling vaguely bad about it but not trying to moderate.
Bought audiobook of ‘Drink? The New Science of Alcohol’ by Prof David Nutt, and listened to it every night for months.
Let it seep into my brain, and started understanding and accepting what alcohol was doing to my brain and body.
Started to think (and write in my journal) about making changes.
After a stressful event which led to my drinking even more, and a comment by someone close to me that really made me think, I was considering doing Sober November.
Discovered the Annie Grace free 30 day Alcohol Experiment. Started Nov 1st.
Had some major realisations in the first weeks, particularly that the panic attacks that’d been plaguing me for a long time were largely caused, and definitely exacerbated, by alcohol withdrawal.
In the second week, decided to commit to a longer period alcohol free.
First month was pretty dreadful, really. I didn’t struggle that much with not drinking, because having firmly made the decision was revelatory in how it stopped the exhausting internal dialogue about drinking (which always ended the same way - with me at the door of the fridge at precisely 5pm). What was hard was the feeling of utter flatness - nothing felt pleasurable or hopeful.
I ‘did the work’, as the slightly nauseating expression goes… I journaled, I watched videos, I listened and read, I learned about what alcohol does and why I was feeling like that*. Basically, I started building the scaffolding of an alcohol free life.
I started to feel better - more pleasure in things, making plans for the future, etc. I’m still very, very early on in this journey (day 76 today, I think), but I do feel like something has permanently shifted. I certainly haven’t gone more than a few weeks without alcohol in 35+ years, so this is pretty profound for me.

What I would say, though, is that it hasn’t just magically happened - it takes work, commitment and acceptance - acceptance that it’s not going to always be easy, that it will take looking into boxes I’ve long tried to keep closed, that it requires a total lifestyle change.

I can’t emphasise this strongly enough… if you’re going to remain alcohol free and not relapse; that is what you have to do. It’s not going to magically happen without effort - you need to retrain and rehabilitate your brain.

Read the books, watch the videos, attend the meetings if you need to (Smart Recovery online, or AA if that appeals to you), join all the groups you can (the Alcohol Explained group on Facebook is good, as are the books), write, write, write what you’re learning and feeling. Get some therapy if you possibly can.

Most importantly, accept that you will still feel crap sometimes, and that you need to consciously choose and prepare different ways of dealing with challenging feelings.

*Why I was like that (and every drinker and taker of other drugs is like that) is because alcohol and other drugs fuck up the dopamine cycle in our brains (which is often already compromised due to genetics and trauma). Happy to say more about this if you’re interested.

It sounds like with the amount you’re drinking, you might need detox? Can you speak to your GP or local drug and alcohol service?

PromisesMeanNothingSue · 15/01/2022 09:32

Oh and join the Alcohol Free threads on here, and read from the start - there’s some amazing experience, wisdom and support on there.

bulbnation · 01/02/2022 18:50

@Redburnett @rumred Congratulations on your progress guys.

@bluejelly I've had some therapy, I probably need to go back though.

OP posts:
bulbnation · 06/02/2022 08:41

@Savboozer Well done for opening up to your friend, hopefully she can offer you some support now she knows? I've not been to AA personally (not yet at least) but I think they have special sessions where family or friends can attend. Maybe your friend could go to one of those, either with you or on her own?

Problems with jobs seem to be a big trigger for many people, myself included. I too have a difficult family, there's no way I could be open with them about this. It just wouldn't help in my case.

OP posts:
SavBbunny · 06/02/2022 09:12


Good morning, have you joined the AF thread?
I am on my 29 th day. I have lost 9 lbs and feel much better.
How have you been doing?

bulbnation · 06/02/2022 09:48

It's been a month so I thought I would sort of log my progress.

I've had less to drink this last month than I normally do. The reduction hasn't been ground breaking but it is a reduction none the less. I also had two days recently where I drank vastly less. One was yesterday. That gives me hope for an alcohol free day happening soon.

Yesterday I drank very little (for me) and I stopped drinking at 9pm. I was in and out of bed all night with waves of anxiety. I felt really nasty this morning. Headache, shaky, heart racing, sweaty, confused and very irritable. I can't fathom how I used to drink 5-6 times what I do now, it's so scary that I did that to myself. This is scary enough right now.

My goal for the coming month is to keep reducing.

On the positive side:

I ate healthier. There's still room for improvement and after all of this damage I should probably aim for an amazing diet rather than an OK one.

I got more active. I had some health issues including injuries 3 years ago which made it very painful to walk. I still have bad days but that situation has improved a lot and I realised I could do more than I was doing. I wouldn't say I am fit compared to a normal or healthy person but it's progress and I can build on it this month.

With everything combined I have lost a bit of weight and feel much different moving around already.

The anxiety and psychological side is dire, as bad as it has ever been really. I try to use a mindful meditation technique I learned when my partner was having therapy. At the time I thought it was a bunch of bs but I did it with him to be supportive. Now I really need it myself.

Basically you try and keep pulling your mind back to the thoughts you want and everytime your mind lurches away you gently bring it back again and then just repeat. Like telling yourself everything is fine when you feel (and think) the opposite. The other part is observing negative thoughts and feelings without getting wrapped up in them, letting them go. I so far cannot do that very well!

Hopefully in early March I'll be able to post something (even a little bit) better than this.

OP posts:
bulbnation · 06/02/2022 09:51

@SavBbunny Hey congratulations, that's amazing Smile

I haven't joined AF because I thought that was more of a sober space iyswim. I guess it couldn't hurt to read other people's stories though.

OP posts:
Haggisfish3 · 06/02/2022 09:56

I have found the app reframe enormously helpful. It covers the psychology and physical aspects of drinking and helps you to reframe your thinking.

Candleabra · 06/02/2022 10:05

Well done that sounds hugely positive. It’s not easy and I find the “one day at a time” mentality helps hugely to stop you feeling completely overwhelmed.
Feel proud of what you’ve achieved so far.

FusionChefGeoff · 06/02/2022 10:53

Hey - you're doing an amazing thing but you are making it very very hard on yourself as you're not looking at any of the root causes of your drinking so you're taking away your 'medicine' without taking any steps to treat the disease.

I am worried that without making any other big changes you'll end up right back where you were - possibly worse as you'll have a 'failed' attempt to stop drinking to add to the things to drink on....

Another piece of advice (I'm 8 yrs sober via AA) is to don't worry about healthy eating etc at the moment - eat whatever you can that will stop you reaching for a drink. Alcohol contains buckets and buckets of sugar so if you reduce alcohol you're going to crave sugar - don't risk it and make sure you're feeding that craving with cake / biscuits / sweets and not booze.

Can I ask why you haven't tried AA?

SavBbunny · 07/02/2022 08:25

I do agree with fusionchefgeoff. I was told the same at AA. Eat the chocolate, nobody got done for sweet eat driving! (a A A analogy I believe)
The reason I am dieting is weight loss surgery and that wasn't going to be possible if i didn't give up drinking. I would consume my calories in wine and cheese. Other than the drink I eat well. With a glass in my hand the devil appears on my shoulder. Queue a bindge on crisps, cheese etc. Easy a 2000 calorie scoff.
Slowly over four years I put on four stone, add in steriods late last year and I reached nearly 7 stone overweight. My drinking played a huge part in that. It was effecting my young adult children and my husband I am sure. When my best friend suggested wls was pointless when I was going to carry on drinking I saw how stupid I was being. Selfish too.
We can't have it all. It is difficult every day. However I have saved enough money in a month to have a posh hair do this week.
Good luck this week @bulbnation.

bulbnation · 17/02/2022 11:01

Hi everyone, I'm sorry I haven't replied to everyone individually yet. I am reading and thinking and really appreciate the help, thinking of this thread keeps me going.

So I've just completed 24 hours without a drink. Not even a full day yet, that's going to be today. I feel terrible to be honest, physically, mentally and emotionally.After I type this I'm going to order myself some juice and fruit, which is all I can really face the thought of eating. They have strawberry and cherry smoothies, which sounds amazing. I don't even want to drink I just feel so rough.

I hope everyone is doing well.

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SavBbunny · 17/02/2022 11:21

Well done. It really does get easier.

Etinoxaurus · 17/02/2022 11:24

Flowers @bulbnation well done!
Can you get to an AA meeting? Some are on line, do you know how to find one?
Sober life is wonderful.

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