View Full Version : Battling Alcohol Addiction- Hopefully Winning


SirSchmidt
05-11-15, 10:26 PM
I never thought I'd have a problem with alcohol, but I do now. After a long, messy divorce (even though I'm only 28), my stress levels were through the roof. I'm honestly not sure how I survived it all.

Over the last year I have increased my alcohol intake gradually, even though ADHD meds (for me) reduce my tolerance. I was up to nearly a 6-pack every evening of 6-8% abv beers. For someone that's 175ish pounds, that's a lot. The scary part is, I barely felt the effects of the alcohol. I never drink enough to be completely "drunk" but I still suffer some of the consequences the next day. Imagine a 1/4 hangover, each and every day.

I finally had enough. For nearly 2 weeks I've had an average of only 2 drinks each night. Some nights 1, 2 or 3 but the overall average is 2. This past weekend was absolutely amazing. I had an incredible amount of energy and was more productive than I've been in over a year. I hope to continue this pattern indefinitely.

I know for a fact that if I had continued down this road another year, I would have been an alcoholic, hands down. I'm just glad I was able to see the pattern emerge and start heading the opposite direction.

SirSchmidt
05-18-15, 11:14 PM
It's been about three weeks since I made an effort to slow down and drink less. Today is the first day that I didn't drink anything, and I don't even crave it (much). I can't remember the last time that happened. I feel much, much more energetic throughout the day.

I know that many people have it much worse and have been battling a serious addiction for years. However, I think I've had a glimpse of how easy it can be to fall down that slope.

sarahsweets
05-19-15, 10:13 AM
Congrats! Its very good you caught this in time. You are saving yourself alot of pain. People tend to think that alcoholics start out drinking like crazy and never stop but for me, I drank fairly normal until my thirties and thats when full blown alcoholism was running my life. The last 6 months of it were horrible. Maintainance drinking morning noon and night searching for the fun buzzed feeling that i could never get back. When I stopped I was drinking three large bottles of wine a day and I started early, like 4 am and kept going until I went to bed. Blackout driving. I had fatty liver disease, high cholesteral, heart palpitations and chest pains. I should have gone to a detox center, I cant believe I didnt have seizures. Stopping was the hardest and worst feeling I have ever experienced. The good news is you and I never have to feel that way again, as long as we dont drink. Its never about the amount of alcohol or how often you drink, its what happens to your behavior when you do drink and the physical and mental addiction. Keep up the good work.

SirSchmidt
05-19-15, 04:15 PM
Thanks for sharing. That must have taken so much dedication. Much respect!

You're absolutely right, it came on gradually without even realizing it. I have enjoyed drinking in moderation for many years. After my stress levels reached an all-time high last year, I found myself drinking just to relieve anxiety in the evenings.

I only started to notice because the number of drinks I'd go through each night had increased drastically. I also became frustrated with the way I felt each morning, having slept badly the night before. Nothing would get done at home because I was so tired after working all day.

It's really terrifying that a substance can be craved so badly despite obvious negative consequences.

GeordieDave
05-19-15, 05:32 PM
Congrats for doing this well so far! I haven't had a problem with drinking too regulary.. but more of a binge issue. Not knowing my limit and have put myself in SILLY situations. Like Sarah I black out more regularly each time I drink too much or mix my drinks up. It's a very scary thing alcohol.

I wish you all the best!

Batman55
05-20-15, 01:05 AM
I used to be an alcohol addict... it would technically be "alcoholic"... but in my case, addiction is the better word because I was chasing the buzz, largely as a replacement for the addiction I had before that, which I had to quit. I was never a "social drunk".. but really just loving the escape, the buzz, the mega-shot of confidence. At my worst it was 1/3rd a bottle of whiskey per night... pretty darn bad.. but luckily I escaped relatively unscathed.

One lasting effect however is "oversensitization"... at the end of my addiction, I only got terrible effects from drinking.. no matter how little the dose. It seemed like reverse tolerance. Many years later, the most I will have is 2-3 drinks PER YEAR.. but it's still the same.. little-to-no buzz, mostly depressive feelings.. and I get a hangover the next day from just TWO glasses of wine the night before. Anyone else had this, or heard of it?

It kinda sucks because I've got my drinking under control and I know just how important moderation is to me, now... I know that, if I could drink, I would not allow a true addiction to form. I just want to be able to enjoy a couple drinks on the weekend for social occasions.. or to go to a bar and loosen up just a tad bit. But.. not gonna happen if I just feel awful from ONE drink. :(

SirSchmidt
05-20-15, 04:15 PM
I have never had "oversensitization", but I suppose after I stop for a long time then I might experience it.

Question: How do you prevent yourself from "giving in" when the craving hits hard? My goal is to control my craving rather than my craving controlling me. In the evening, the desire to drink is almost unbearable.

I'll be honest, I did have a bit last night. Only 2 beers worth, drank slowly over the evening. In the last week I've been keeping myself in check by never having enough alcohol at home to get me in trouble. I've been getting a 22oz bottle when I crave a beer, and I bring home no more than that. It's safer than buying a whole six-pack which is 72oz total.

willow129
05-20-15, 10:48 PM
I have no experience with this, so this might be a terrible suggestion,

but I've heard of non-alcoholic beers and things. Could you maybe stock up on some of those, for when you have the craving? I don't know if that would help but, it's kinda like, you've still got the feeling of having something cold in your hand to drink.

willow129
05-20-15, 10:48 PM
Also, good luck, I'm rooting for you!!

sarahsweets
05-21-15, 05:03 AM
I use AA. Its not for everyone. But it got me sober.

SirSchmidt
05-22-15, 10:45 AM
It's been almost one month since I stopped overdrinking and I feel fantastic. Every day I feel better and better. I'm now at the point of having 1 beer or nothing at all per night.

The temptation is still high but each morning I'm so thankful I didn't drink the night before. I sleep better and energy level is much higher, lasting from morning until about 7-8pm at night. Adderall also works much better and is more consistent.

Thanks everyone for the encouragement. I now realize that I was, by definition, an alcoholic for at least a year. I never want that to happen again.

Skyf@ll
05-24-15, 04:56 AM
It's been almost one month since I stopped overdrinking and I feel fantastic. Every day I feel better and better. I'm now at the point of having 1 beer or nothing at all per night.

The temptation is still high but each morning I'm so thankful I didn't drink the night before. I sleep better and energy level is much higher, lasting from morning until about 7-8pm at night. Adderall also works much better and is more consistent.

Thanks everyone for the encouragement. I now realize that I was, by definition, an alcoholic for at least a year. I never want that to happen again.

Well done, long may it continue! :)

The desire to drink will decrease as time goes on, so the only way is up.

SirSchmidt
06-15-15, 12:01 AM
Hey guys,

So far it's been going fairly well. Continuing to lower my intake and I feel its benefits for sure. I crave it less and less. Most nights I can stay away from the stuff without feeling overwhelmed.

However, for the last week or two I've been experiencing a decrease in energy and mood and increased anxiety in the evenings. I am reluctant to do just about anything after work. I begrudgingly take care of the necessities, but I feel a lack of excitement about life in general. I guess you could call it a mild depression, but why now? I honestly don't know.

It may be the loneliness catching up to me. Just had a birthday so my thoughts have been unusually introspective. Or perhaps it's a symptom of drastically less alcohol intake? Have any of you felt this way after stopping drinking?

sarahsweets
06-15-15, 04:27 AM
Once I stopped drinking altogether those feelings slowly went away. When I tried to control my drinking by monitoring my intake thats when those feelings hung around. I had to stop drinking all forms of alcohol to feel better.

kilted_scotsman
06-15-15, 04:49 AM
It might not be connected with reducing alcohol intake....or it may be that you are becoming aware of your "real" feelings that were being masked by the alcohol.

IT doesn't really matter either way... the solution is to accept the feelings and feel into them to find the underlying needs that aren't being met.

When I was drinking the alcohol dampened my anxiety around socialising and my relational issues.... when I stopped drinking the feelings of anxiety rose dramatically however I was in a supportive community environment where self-examination was encouraged and they were used to people having mood swings... lots of "circle time"!

I feel it took at least 6 months to get the alcohol out of my system.... the process I'd begun in the community... is still ongoing years later.

I very very rarely touch alcohol these days.... and when I do I regret it because I can feel how I am "not me" when I take it.

I suspect the alcohol was dampening my anxiety processes.... and now these consume more energy than before.... constant fight or flight..... so that would account for my tiredness and lack of energy in the evenings.... which really annoys me.... if I work during the day I am floored by early evening.

I have to acknowledge this and practice self-awareness.... taking breaks, pacing myself and accepting that if I do a days work I'm not going to be functional that evening.

What I have to be careful of is my hyperfocus, that REALLY sucks energy and I feel exhausted anxious and depressed after even a mild hyperfocal event.

I also ensure I do at least one evening of social activity.... for me it's dance, and also a couple of massages a month so I get enough touch. The neurochemicals released by touch seem help reduce depression.... though it took a while to get through being anxiety around the touching process!

Remember that consuming alcohol was "something to do" so it helps to fill that gap with something else that helps meet the need that alcohol met, but in a healthy way. This is one of the biggest issues with coming off alcohol or any adictive substance..... it leaves a hole in our lives, a hole in precisely the place we really really don't want a hole..... for many people this is social... the alcohol was a reason to go to the pub/meet people/and reduced anxiety, for others its withdrawal/avoidance... working out what need alcohol met in your life is an important step in understanding how to meet that need in a different, healthier way.

Skyf@ll
06-20-15, 03:23 PM
Hey guys,

So far it's been going fairly well. Continuing to lower my intake and I feel its benefits for sure. I crave it less and less. Most nights I can stay away from the stuff without feeling overwhelmed.

However, for the last week or two I've been experiencing a decrease in energy and mood and increased anxiety in the evenings. I am reluctant to do just about anything after work. I begrudgingly take care of the necessities, but I feel a lack of excitement about life in general. I guess you could call it a mild depression, but why now? I honestly don't know.

It may be the loneliness catching up to me. Just had a birthday so my thoughts have been unusually introspective. Or perhaps it's a symptom of drastically less alcohol intake? Have any of you felt this way after stopping drinking?

I can relate to that somewhat.

I had been drinking heavily for a few weeks....then as usual the brain hits the "reset" button and has enough of it, then I stop completely.

1st week was hell.....no energy, motivation. Anxiety followed as well as depression.

Feel a lot better now and more focused on what I want to do.

That's just how I work though and I feel I'm not 100% in control of it.

I would say since you have gradually decreased your intake instead of completely stopping you have delayed the inevitable symptoms which have now crept up on you.

Not having a go at you.....you are doing a great feckin job.

Itís just the difference between an emergency stop and hitting the brakes gradually.

SirSchmidt
06-20-15, 09:50 PM
I agree, Skyfall. I think those symptoms are inevitable, especially after drinking heavily for a long time. My goal was to wean off instead of stopping abruptly. The depression would have probably been much, much worse if I had quit immediately.

The good news: I may have quit completely. I say "may" only because I still don't trust myself. Tomorrow marks the 7th day of no alcohol whatsoever. Even though I only started to truly abuse alcohol a year ago, it has been several years since I've gone this long without a drink.

The last few days I've been feeling much better; the anxiety and depression are beginning to disappear. Thanks everyone for your encouragement. It means a lot!

Skyf@ll
06-21-15, 12:35 AM
I agree, Skyfall. I think those symptoms are inevitable, especially after drinking heavily for a long time. My goal was to wean off instead of stopping abruptly. The depression would have probably been much, much worse if I had quit immediately.

The good news: I may have quit completely. I say "may" only because I still don't trust myself. Tomorrow marks the 7th day of no alcohol whatsoever. Even though I only started to truly abuse alcohol a year ago, it has been several years since I've gone this long without a drink.

The last few days I've been feeling much better; the anxiety and depression are beginning to disappear. Thanks everyone for your encouragement. It means a lot!

Glad to hear it dude!

Remember temptation will sometimes be there.

When that time arises....stop for a minute, think what you have achieved and then think what you will go back to.


In the future if you manage to limit it to being a social drinker and going out with friends for drinks, eat a large meal before hand (I sound like someones mum, I know....but it works)you will get less drunk and become an observer to the madness around you, rather than a participant.....hey you might even get labeled as the sensible one...not bad for the ADHD crew!

But one step at a time.......I think slow and steady will win the race for you in the end. :)

sarahsweets
06-21-15, 07:31 AM
Keep up the good Job Sirschmidt. All those single days eventually add up to weeks, months and years.

SirSchmidt
06-25-15, 02:43 PM
This week has been incredible. I feel like a new person, no exaggeration. I am energetic, excited, and feel happier in general. The way that I feel now is far better than any buzz I've ever had from drinking. I didn't realize how miserable I was until now.

The encouragement means a lot, everyone. Thank you so much for offering your input. It took me two months to quit and it was really, really difficult. Each day I had to take another step towards my goal and that's a lot of steps to take in a short time. It's been 12 days and I never want to go back.

Unmanagable
06-25-15, 02:49 PM
Way to work your wellness, dude!!! Happy for you. :)

Batman55
06-26-15, 01:03 AM
Longterm sobriety: While I can say I appreciate the clear mind and increased energy, etc.. I still miss it. I still wish I could drink. I've just got to be honest.

As someone who has terrible social anxiety, I can only be honest and say I believe it definitely had some utility for me. And now I can't use it. At all. Sucks.