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BarrelChested

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BarrelChested

Yesterday, I posted to the following to the MyWayOut forum. Several members/posters suggested that I switch to THIS forum. It's a bit of a buzz-kill... <crickets>  So, in my best Steve Martin impersonation... "my story? You want to hear my story?!"  So it goes...

I've found solidarity and solace in some of these posts. I'm staunchly agnostic and find AA wholly unpalatable. However, I know that my unhealthy relationship with alcohol is rooted in my past/psychology. There are some "doozies." The salient point is that I need to stop drinking. It took me A LOT to get to this point. It took me quite a bit more to be willing to chemically-castrate myself. I've been taking Naltrexone for a mere 2-3 weeks. I read a metric-tonne of journal articles (PubMed, NIH, etc) about it. I'm a science geek. From the literature, I know that side-effects are rare. Well, call me "lucky;" I've experienced depression, nausea, confusion, and VERY dark thoughts on Nal. I'm a strong person... and, damn it, I need the strength on this medication. So...

After a week, I discovered (rather, delved further into) "The Sinclair Method." I'm just now trying it.  I follow a pattern of binge drinking (I typically drink/abstain for a 2 month/3 month ratio). "Reigning it in," I drink at least 50 standard drinks per week. I also ride a bicycle 4,000mi/yr and do very technical work. People would never guess. They don't know about my "deferred" DUI. I digress. I'm frustrated that this isn't "sorted," already. I will say that I'm positive that Nal has an effect. It doesn't eliminate the euphoria of drinking. Rather, it dulls it. When I drink, rather than the wash of relaxation I'm used to receiving upon the first drink, I feel... well, by the second drink, I feel the fatigue of a party gone too long. I'm drinking... but going to bed wouldn't be so horrible. What IS horrible is the cascade of side-effects. I've only had two booze-free days (yesterday was the last) since I started. And, well, it wasn't a struggle [to not drink] and I was happy to get out from under the oppressive, depressing thumb of Nal. Having watched a dear friend/soldier lose his life in my arms... well, it's a weight like that being on Nal (for me, at least -- very, very dark). HOWEVER, as frustrated as I feel that I've not "George-Jetson'd" my way out of this... well, Nal has given me hope. It's the hope of a character in a horror flick that sees that the killer has left-behind some killing tool; the bloody mess is far from over and you're operating at a disadvantage.

I'm not a PolyAnna. I'm very far from this. I'm honest. And the hope that I get from Nal outweighs the crushing darkness I feel from the medicine (initially, I was taking 25mg, twice per day - a really misguided approach I arbitrarily adopted; I requested the medication and received zero guidance on how to take it). I realize the absurdity/lack-of-validity of a neophyte posting his experience. However, I've studied Neuroscience at the graduate level and am unusually deliberate and honest in all that I do. I'm shocked that I created an account. I felt compelled to do so. Perhaps this tiny community will help me avoid seeking professional assistance (which might, admittedly, help me... but maybe I'd like to have a security clearance again, some day? Mental health care is stigmatized, yo'....).

And my follow-up to that post from yesterday is... is that community helps. I have a crazy work environment that's extremely socially-isolated. And now that I don't go to bars... well... I'm looking forward to reading replies. The Naltrexone on top of circumstantial social isolation... well, it's really not the ideal combination. #justSayin

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phoenix

Hi Barrelchested 

I'm a poster on MWO, but rarely check in these days. 

The thing I need you to know is that after trying everything else, I found success with TSM . I started TSM in 2011 and noticed a difference from the start. I was in control within 6 months. The novelty of safe drinking kept me drinking for 2 years, during which time there were long periods of hardly any intake. After 2 years I decided to quit for good, I've not had an alcoholic drink for well over 3 years now. 

 

Oh and I had the UK version of DUI, I only drove drunk once, that was enough to nearly kill myself and other people. 

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Mom2JTx3

Welcome to the forum @BarrelChested.  I found success with Baclofen, but take it every day.  The great thing about Nal is that you only take it when you drink.  If I was to go back, I would try Nal or maybe a combination of the two.

I'm not a Nal expert, but I know @Ne1 had nausea when she took it.  The forum recommendation was to eat well when taking the pill.  I know she even went to half a pill, 12.5 mg? in order to combat it.  She was combining it with Baclofen.  I'm sorry about the darkness thing.  I know that a few have felt that with Bac too.  I didn't have it, but I had other severe side effects.  I went to ridiculous lengths to combat them because I knew I had to get well.  I was envious of those who just suffered somnolence.  I was going to recommend exercise as a natural AD, but it looks like you're already doing that. 

i understand what you mean about needing something, a tool to get out of this.  Many here have tried the AA route unsuccessfully.  I was firmly convinced that my drinking and inability to control it wasn't a character issue.  That it was something in my brain chemistry that would compel me to drink against my will.  I was a 24/7 drinker who consumed 40 units a DAY and struggled to get even 1 day alcohol free (AF). I found a whole community that agreed with me and found success a different way.  I'm so thankful to be free of alcohol.

i wish you the best.  It does help to post.  Let us know how you are doing.  There is a very active TSM board too.  I'm sorry I don't know the URL, and don't want to direct you to a third place :) but I wonder if they have a section on mitigating side effects.

Good luck!

 

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StuckinLA

Welcome!

I never tried nal nor TSM, so there's not much I can add. I can't think of the TSM forum url either. But it shouldn't be difficult to find, and I believe there's an active Reddit about TSM. 

This all sounds like we're steering you away from here, but that truly isn't the case. We are very happy you found us. 

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DunDrinkn

Hello BC,

I haven't tried Nal, but actually just recommended it to a young man who isn't necessarily interested in not drinking, but wants to rein it in and not go overboard any longer. I was prescribed Nal, along with Baclofen initially. I decided against trying the Nal and just went in for the kill after finding MWO a few years back. I didn't necessarily want to just dull the effects of the high. What I found/find debilitating is the cravings that can occupy my every waking minute when I'm in the throes of active addiction. Baclofen does the trick for me where that is concerned, however, I do have to stop drinking entirely for a about 10 days to two weeks for that effect to take hold. I still haven't been able to stay completely AF forEver. I do have long stints of AF time, followed by actively ramping up the drinking -- I have found I can drink over any switch/medication with enough persistence. That's just how I roll. I am in the midst of a dry run right now... coming up on six weeks. What I find is that these long dry spells bring about a different kind of soul crushing emptiness that has me yearning for the relief of a drink. I'm once again trying to soldier through and find my way to the other side of it. Being human is not as much fun as the brochure promised. Stick around and keep posting. The board here does go quiet from time to time, but if you scream loud enough, someone will come to your aid. 

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BarrelChested

I appreciate the feedback. I fear that I don't have the will/etc to move to yet another site. I'm human. @phoenix , your story helps. I'm a bit afraid of something that @DunDrinkn just said... for I fear I have the same tendency. I find that the Nal takes away some of the pleasure of drinking... and I quickly get to a point where I'm kinda ready to stop drinking for the night... and then I "power through." I'm incredibly stubborn (or "strong-willed" if you're being charitable -- like riding a bicycle >100mi/day just because I refuse to quit... or swimming for four miles through horrible cramps... just because). That pig-headedness applies to my drinking. A friend told me, "you do everything 'to eleven.'"  I'm hoping that someone will tell me that they have the same character "feature" and that they eventually started to behave like a normal/rational/non-addicted person.

I only heard about Nal through an NPR.org article (http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2014/05/13/312152578/meds-can-help-problem-drinkers-but-many-doctors-dont-know-that) which I read 1-2 months ago. I've not previously heard of Baclofen. My GP refused to prescribe Nal to me, referring me to a psychiatrist (which led me to go to another doctor for the Naltrexone). It get the impression that most doctors and nurses are unfamiliar with this medication.

From what I've read (and you can confirm?) is that if you drink without the Nal... you "break the spell" and undo all of the "retraining" you've done. It's a real drag... but I just have to stop. It's killed people on both sides of my family. And while I've never reached the volume of @Mom2JTx3... I know that I will. Every cycle of stopping and binging, I get closer to the precipice. I know myself and I can feel the boundaries of my control. I want the time back. I spend over half of my free time drinking. I don't even know if volume matters. I just know that I want to stop... and then it's as though I don't want to stop. I wonder if I'm doing this the right way. Is my "powering through it" a common/normal response or an indicator that I may be amongst the 20% for whom Nal is ineffective. It terrifies me. And the Nal-induced darkness isn't helping things. THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH FOR YOUR SUPPORT. I hope, at least, that reading this reminds you of some of the things you experienced... and that it shows you that you've come a long way. On the other hand, if I'm just really heading down a fruitless path and need to try a different treatment... well, knowledge and the experiences of others helps. It's data that may help me beat this thing. I want to beat it. I want to feel normal, again. I feel like a loser when I'm drinking alone. And I drink alone because, damn it, the TWO (my hard limit) that I had at the bar are just enough to p1ss me off. At that point, I HAVE to get drunk (er, pre-Nal, at least; I haven't tried this since I started). So, I go home (and not to jail) and get 'housed.


I'm grateful and looking forward to your responses -- whether they be what I want to hear or what I need to hear.  Thank you.

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Felina
33 minutes ago, BarrelChested said:

From what I've read (and you can confirm?) is that if you drink without the Nal... you "break the spell" and undo all of the "retraining" you've done.

That's my understanding as well. If you skip the Nal for the alcohol high, you will lose all of your progress rapidly.

You mentioned that you have not heard of Baclofen until now. I feel like I should briefly discuss it. Back in 2010, I read this article: You will need register or log in to read this content .  I quickly found my way to My Way Out, then found Dr. Levin, who was mentioned in the article (sadly, he no longer prescribes bac) - and then started taking baclofen. I found myself indifferent to alcohol within a couple of months of starting the drug. It was miraculous. Almost six years later, I am continually amazed at how well this drug has worked. I used to drink up to a case of beer a day. I was resigned to the fact that I could not stop drinking and would probably die of the disease. And yet here I am, a sober and productive member of society! 

If you have questions, we are here for you.:hug:

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Mom2JTx3

Hi @BarrelChested. I'll write more tomorrow, but I thought you might get encouragement from reading these threads:. You will need register or log in to read this content. 

We were all where you are, some of us worse, some of us still struggling.  There is some great encouragement there. :) 

I apologise that I haven't put my story there yet.  I will soon!

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StuckinLA

Even though I don't have any experience with nal, if I could toss in my two cents I would say give it a few months before deciding that it isn't effective for you. The "powering through" actually sounds like a pretty positive sign to me. Given enough time, you'll probably lose interest in powering through to the point of getting completely drunk. Just take the damned pill. Every. Single. Time. 

If you do everything to eleven, try doing nal to eleven. At least for a couple months. Or you could try bac and see how that goes, or both at the same time. Either way, keep us posted on your progress.

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Felina
14 hours ago, BarrelChested said:

That pig-headedness applies to my drinking. A friend told me, "you do everything 'to eleven.'"  I'm hoping that someone will tell me that they have the same character "feature" and that they eventually started to behave like a normal/rational/non-addicted person.

@Jetsman32, I think this would be a good point for you to chime in, dontcha' think? :)

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Mom2JTx3

@BarrelChested This sounds familiar to me too.  You could make better choices, but don't.  Yes, continuing on with the meds should help.  I drank all the way up to my switch.  Sometimes I could have reduced, but didn't.  I think at some point we have to examine why we drink (to reduce anxiety, to make the world go away, to escape life for awhile, for entertainment) and find an alternate thing to do.  The meds are a great tool.

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StuckinLA
10 minutes ago, Mom2JTx3 said:

t we have to examine why we drink ( to make the world go away)

THIS

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Meggie

Hey, Stuck, Meggie here. I have been on the Nal since August of 2015. I feel like a loser, it has done little to stop my drinking. Now everyone on the TSM site said I need to really look at my drinking, think about what I am doing.  I still feel the relaxation when I drink. I drink vodka and water.  I had terrible side effects when I began. I had everything that you have expressed. I started slowly at 12.5 and that helped. I tried taking 75 mg to enhance the drug or the effects but that isn't working either. I must be one of those 20 percent that it doesn't work for. I take it daily and have since August. 

I hope it works for you, I seem to be the only one on the site it doesn't work for. 

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BarrelChested

@Meggie (and everyone else). You (and others) hint at [what I perceive to be] "the heart of it." There is "sex" to self-destruction and forgetting. By "sex," I mean the visceral drives and defiance. So much of my drinking is ego. Beyond that, booze was/is the one thing that lets me interact with people. It dumbs me down, enough. I'm hammered, right now (oddlly, after only five drinks spanning five hours -- and following an hour of yoga and almost two hours of cycling). Society doesn't want clever folk. We're not allowed to be earnest, to try. Want to scare-off a potential mate? Be logical, honest, and reasonable. Your post scares me because... because I'm still drinking. I tell myself that I have to adhere to the TSM principles. Perhaps this is true. On the other hand, the dysbiosis caused by booze is real and damaging. I followed an AIP diet for two months... and effortlessly lost 24lbs (ostensibly due to inflammation) and ended decades of bloody diarrhea. During that time, of course, I didn't drink. When I added-back booze... well, I can live with minor/common loose stools/etc. The weight loss abruptly stopped. And this was the "last straw," for me: after decades of spending so much effort on being healthy, I let my alcoholism interfere with good health. It's a fscked-up choice. To me, at least, it demonstrates a real problem.

There is a problem of choice. I "eleven" everything. No pill can beat me; although I didn't do a full SERE course... I'm certain that I could. @Meggie, you're telling me what I need to hear. Earlier tonight, friends and I  talked about a chronically-depressed friend. I retold my experience of hiking from GA through VA on the A.T.  On that trip, I figured-out that so much of "reality" is choice. Holy fsck -- that was so many years ago! It was before booze.  Anyway... we have the ability to influence our subjective state. Happiness is a choice. And, really, does it matter if there's an objective world?  I'm frustrated that I'm not choosing happiness. Your posts are making me think about this.

What finally "did it" for you? I'm clouded by a profound Nal-induced darkness, these days. I feel like a complete loser -- that I'm single... and much like a cosmetically malformed piece of fruit; until I can put the booze away, no one will ever see my profound worth. The other side of the coin is less pleasant. If not for the remorse and self-loathing of drinking... well, my life wouldn't be perfect... but I have the fantasy that it would eventually be better. It sucks when no  one loves you. It sucks most when you don't even love yourself. Luckily, though, I think that this is just the side-effects of Naltrexone. Damn it, this drug is brutal.

I write... and it's both for me and the vain hope that it might help someone else. It's terrifying to think that this will be my reality for the rest of my life. The prospect of being some boring, sober,  old fart watching TV (something I don't do) and waiting to die isn't a helluva lot better. I guess that I'm hoping to take my chances with the TV. I'm looking forward to your posts. And I hope that y'all appreciate that I'm being brutally honest. <SIGH>

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BarrelChested
10 hours ago, Mom2JTx3 said:

@BarrelChested This sounds familiar to me too.  You could make better choices, but don't.  Yes, continuing on with the meds should help.  I drank all the way up to my switch.  Sometimes I could have reduced, but didn't.  I think at some point we have to examine why we drink (to reduce anxiety, to make the world go away, to escape life for awhile, for entertainment) and find an alternate thing to do.  The meds are a great tool.

For a spell, there, I was playing piano when I got home. Booze is a Pavlovian bell for me -- it means, "you ain't gotta do sh1t else in the world, today." But booze is easier. Oddly enough, thirty minutes of piano were enough to have the same relaxing effect.  I read that TSM requires one to drink. I'm soooo over the negativity it brings. I'm looking forward to NOT drinking every day. My main incentive to stop drinking is to avoid the side-effects of Naltrexone. Un-holy crap, it's a REAL DOWNER.  It's not bad enough to drive #00 buck through the cranium. I'm not there, yet. But I worry that that stage is coming.

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Jetsman32

 

 

Hello @BarrelChested and welcome to the forum and congrats on going AF (alcohol Free)- that is a huge first step- and the hardest.

@Felina mentioned that I might be a good point of reference for you- and I agree. I share the same character feature as you- I do everything at an 11. When I say everything I mean everything. This one time I wanted to learn guitar so I spent close to $1000 buying an amp, a great guitar and a tuner. After 3 lessons I guit. Everyone on here knows me as "go big or go home"- it's just a model I've lived by and have been trying to break. The same pigheadedness you mention also applies to my drinking. When I started I had no intention of stopping. I would go on 3-5 days binges, be clean for a 3-4 days and start again. I would wake up craving a drink and the only way I could muscle through was by hiding shots for the next morning or popping Klonopin. I can also tell you that AA just did not work for me. I never felt like I fit in- I wasn't "one of those people". I could relate to some of their stories and mantra's but overall I found the whole exercise of going to 4-5 meetings a week mentally draining and i didn't want to trade one addiction in for another - for life.  I had a professional career, had never been arrested, wasn't abusive and drank at home- I just couldn't relate. It took me away from my family and was always uncomfortable. Also- I was a Christian going into AA and it didn't help a lick. I believe your higher power only helps those that want to help themselves- you have to put in the work. I also don't think you can treat a physical disease with a spiritual remedy. Imagine if someone with stage 3 cancer when to the doctor and he prescribed them group therapy and finding a higher power- what a joke!  I like you, also have a professional job- I work in HR. My drinking has only affected my work on a few occasions when I had to call in but otherwise I was the picture perfect functioning alcoholic.

I started on Baclofen a little over 4 months ago and hit my switch at 310mgs about 30 days ago. Since the switch things have been like night and day. I just don't find myself craving a drink like I used to and it's much easier to just say no and just drive right past the liquor store. My goal was always to be a moderate or "normal" drinking- never total sobriety. Right now I have that. To answer your other question- if you drink heavily on Baclofen it doesn't ruin the medication or your indifference. Since being indifferent I have had 2 occasions where I would say I over-did it- not to a fall over drunk extreme but I was wobbly and slurring my words. Both times I woke up the next morning with no desire to drink and just continued on my regular Baclofen regiment. The only adverse side effect was was some early morning post drinking anxiety which was quickly handled with Klonopin, Passion Flower or Gabapentin. Some people give great advice on this, even if you are on Baclofen and think you might be going to a party, just bring light beer (and stick to it) and eat a huge amount of food before you get there. Believe me, this goes a long way. 

I now find that I can have 2-4 beers anytime and just not want anymore. It is a very freeing feeling. I went to a restaurant recently and ordered a tall Blue Moon (my favorite) and drank it in about 45 minutes. I ordered another, got half way through and just didn't want it anymore. The old me, had I drank at a restaurant would HAVE to stop at a gas station on the way home and get a 12 pack- thankfully those days are over!

Have you read Dr. Ameisiens book yet The End of My Addiction? You can pick it up on Amazon for like $3. It is an amazing read. Here you have a doctor who is a chronic alcoholic. He starts taking Baclofen and details his entire journey to indifference. I like it because he speaks to you like a real person- not like a Doctor. I found it very easy to read and finished it in a weekend. It was enlightening to say the least. His book led to the widespread prescribing of Baclofen in France for alcoholism which as been very well taken. I would offer to send it to you but right now I have it lent out o my Psychiatrist. 

The one thing that frankly sucks about Baclofen is the titration up. Please start slowly and only increase your dosage every 3-5 days. This will mitigate the side effects (insomnia being the chief one). Since I've been at 310mgs the only side-effect I still have is that I last forever during sex and sometimes can't even climax. My wife is not complaining. A bit frustrating but well worth it. My wife has noticed a huge difference in me and I've been able to devote a great amount of time to my family that I wasn't doing before. I have no experience with NAL so can't comment on that.

I even broke out my guitar again! I found a great Youtube Chanel called JustinGuitar. He has over 400 videos with about 70 of them being at the beginner level. Today, for the first time in 4 years I am going to actually going to start learning guitar. Baclofen and being sober has opened so many doors for me. I have more time for my family, am saving money and have time to pursue my passions. Sure, it might take me 3-4 years to get any good at guitar but it's been a life long dream and what better time to start than now!

The one thing I can tell you about Baclofen is that it can be incredibly hard to find a doctor in the states (where are you anyway? I'm in SC) that prescribes it. Initially I had to order mine on Goldpharma.com. The prices were fair but admittedly, as you get into the higher doses it does get expensive.I used Baclfoen Dura and ordered in 10 and 25mg doses. However, I promise you, it is well worth the investment and your quality of life will shoot through the roof. While you are titrating up you should try to search out a Psychiatrist that specializes in chemical solutions for alcoholics. Most Counselors have it in their DNA that the only responsible recourse is AA- which I find disturbing since it only has an 8-10% success rate. I have also found that Baclofen has done nothing for my underlying anxiety (I have General Axiety Disorder). For that reason I still take many herbal anxiety relievers and Klonopin as needed.

If you ever have any questions your rather not post feel free to IM me. Best of luck on your continued AF time and moving forwards!

 

 

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BarrelChested

@Jetsman32  ... Thank you. I genuinely appreciate when people share. Compassion, empathy, and honesty are in short supply, these days (look at this election cycle if you need a touchstone).  I think that I'm a different sort of booze abuser. The thought of drinking in the morning... well, it's just not appealing. I only drink at night... but I do EXACTLY what you used to do (leave a place early to ensure that I can continue drinking at home). My dependence is more psychological -- I have the misguided notion -- a compulsion -- that drinking will wax the world wonderful with Shinola. I'm smarter than this, of course... except that I'm [apparently] not. My issue is that  I drink like Yoda -- drink or don't drink, there is no "moderation."

I'm a performing musician. I play Jazz (and have a gig on Friday; I have a geeky day job). I recommend against starting with Jazz.  HOWEVER, you should check-out the Jamey Abersold series (these are "play-along" tracks with "charts" detailing the chord changes; there are a few Blues albums). I went to the best Jazz school in the world (#trueStory). You'll be served well by this series. If you're interested, send me a PM and I'll forward some SoundCloud.com links.  Anyway, the best advice I can give you, there, is to PLAY FREAKING SCALES. Seriously. Devote an hour per day to just playing scales. Eventually, move on to playing modes (Google it -- you keep the accidentals and move the tonic). This will help your ear.

I'm drinking, now. I didn't really feel like it (which is phenomenal)... but since I took the Nal (and it's horrible) after 2.5 hours of exercise, I figured that I should reap the benefit. If I didn't fear the societal/professional blowback from seeking psychiatric help, I'd be all over it. But, unfortunately, it's a problem in the USA. I was ordered to receive a rubber-stamp experience with a psychologist after a military fatality... but, otherwise, fear the repercussions of seeking help. It was enough of a hassle to get Nal that I doubt that I'll go for Baclofen. Bac helps with cravings, right? My cravings aren't so bad. My moderation is the problem (rather, the complete absence of it -- 11, m*th3rfscker). 

 

The last bit: Oh, how I wish I liked pot. It's illegal in my state (and we'll be the very last to legalize)... but I'm in an odd situation where I could safely consume. Alas... well, damn it, it doesn't hold a candle to booze. Am I alone in this? It's an intoxicant of sorts... and by all accounts, it SHOULD be better than booze... except that I prefer booze. Anyone? Bueller?

 

Attempts at humor aside, thanks again for the community support. It gives me an excuse to tell my story ("I was born a poor black child ..." - The Jerk).

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StuckinLA

@BarrelChestedI'm kinda too drunk to read or type right now. But did want to say thank you for your post. And jazz is freaking awesome

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Baclofenman
On 31/10/2016 at 5:46 AM, BarrelChested said:

I write... and it's both for me and the vain hope that it might help someone else. It's terrifying to think that this will be my reality for the rest of my life. The prospect of being some boring, sober,  old fart watching TV (something I don't do) and waiting to die isn't a helluva lot better. I guess that I'm hoping to take my chances with the TV. I'm looking forward to your posts. And I hope that y'all appreciate that I'm being brutally honest. <SIGH>

I have not fully digested your posts but this sprung out at me

Soberness does appear to look like this from the position you are in - It does, I have been there

BUT - Soberness, when you have achieved this, opens other doors that are currently darkened out, in your current state of mind

 

I always thought I played the Piano well when I was pissed, on reflection, this was true as I cannot play the Piano ;)

 

Regards

 

Bacman

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Jetsman32

@BarrelChested Thank you for the reply! I would love if you could IM me some more info on the Jazz Abersold Series. I'm not a Jazz fan myself, I prefer 80's rock and alternative so that's most likely what I'll focus on. I start my first on-line lesson today. It's funny, when I saw my guitar teacher he also told me to focus on scales above all else. This advice I will take.

It must be hard being a musician and trying to give up booze. I'm sure at those venue's that practically throw free drinks at you. That's a toughie!

I believe that like you, much of my dependence was also psychological. Wednesday, Friday and Saturday were my big drinking nights. I never missed one. Even being indifferent now I'll still think about booze on one of those nights and it sounds damn appealing. The nice thing now though is that I can tell myself no- something I could never do before!

I'm going to share something with you now that I don't think I've shared with anyone on this site and for the life of me I don't know why. Embarrassment maybe? I do partake in pot usually 2-3 nights per week. It started about 8 months ago because of my back pain (I had back surgery on October 6th). However, I do not smoke it- it gives me crazy anxiety. I use a vaporizer called the Davinci. Basically it's a ceramic convection oven that heats the weed up to anywhere from 350-400 degrees and you vape it (there is no combustion). I like it because I don't get anxiety and the high is more in the body and helps tremendously with with pain. It also doesn't smell all that much so we can use it in our bathroom when the kids go to bed and they never know. However, now that I have tons of pain meds I have no need for the weed anymore. My wife had knee surgery and also likes to vape on occasion. However, we started an intermittent fasting routine yesterday to lose weight and realized that weed would kill that (the munchies are still very much real!). We don't plan to buy any more for a long time- maybe never. I hope nobody on this site thinks less of me for this revelation. I also live in a very conservative state (SC) so even medical marijuana will never be legalized. I had to go to like 4 head shops and ask around before I could find a guy to sell to me. This was harder than it may seem. I work in HR, am a pretty clean cut guy and can easily be mistaken for a cop LOL. It's not so easy to find a weed dealer when you are 37 years old!

Also- one other thing I'd like to add. I hear real pain in your posts. Don't beat yourself up too much, things will get better but you have to put in the work. Think of this as a temporary downturn in your life- one that you can get through. You do have value and someone will see that in you!

@Baclofenman You made me just think of something really funny. There is an episode of Family Guy (not sure if you watch) in one of the earlier seasons where Peter Griffin is a world class Piano player- but only when he's hammered. When he's sober he can't play a lick. 

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StuckinLA

Hey @BarrelChested, the quote of your post and Bacman's reply to it made me think of something. I find that when I'm drinking is when I'm mostly in bed and in front of the TV. When I'm NOT drinking is when I read and write and get work done and feel like I can go anywhere. Not just to the one bar in my neighborhood, but any bar or to see a movie or to a lecture series at the library.

When I am drinking my world shrinks, until my whole world is just my bedroom and a bottle. When I get sober I am actually free to do anything, and yeah sometimes I also feel a little empty like something is missing, but mostly it's ok. Guess what I'm saying is you don't have to fear sobriety. When you're in the middle of it, drinking, it's terrifying. But the other side is good.

I'm sort of telling you this and telling myself this, as I'm at the bottom of a bottle myself right now. And really wishing I could swim out of it.

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Baclofenman

@BarrelChested

You certainly come across as an educated man, possibly not as educated as @Jetsman32 with his indented paragraph headers (sadly missing recently) but educated none the less

On 28/10/2016 at 6:18 AM, BarrelChested said:

Having watched a dear friend/soldier lose his life in my arms...

It's the hope of a character in a horror flick that sees that the killer has left-behind some killing tool; the bloody mess is far from over and you're operating at a disadvantage.
 

10 hours ago, BarrelChested said:

I was ordered to receive a rubber-stamp experience with a psychologist after a military fatality... but, otherwise, fear the repercussions of seeking help..

Just being nosy, how did the therapy go? - You have mentioned it several times so I guess it plays on your mind

You admit to:

On 28/10/2016 at 6:18 AM, BarrelChested said:

my unhealthy relationship with alcohol is rooted in my past/psychology.

I find that in a lot of alcoholics there is a root problem, anxiety being a common cause which has to be overcome or at least controlled for the cycle of "getting pissed to forget or transform" to be broken long term or at least until the remorse and regret has subsided 

Are you taking any other medication?

My initial thought was that as a "binge" drinker TSM was a shoe in for you 

Baclofen is pretty good for alcoholics with anxiety - I notice you are learned in clinical trial examination - Have you read this one?

You will need register or log in to read this content

Please tell me to go forth and mind my own business but I felt it needed to be said :)

Regards

 

Bacman

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Baclofenman
6 hours ago, Jetsman32 said:

 

@Baclofenman You made me just think of something really funny. There is an episode of Family Guy (not sure if you watch) in one of the earlier seasons where Peter Griffin is a world class Piano player- but only when he's hammered. When he's sober he can't play a lick. 

Unfortunately Jets, I have not had the pleasure - I am far too British middle class to be watching cartoons ;) - No, who am I kidding? - Family Guy - No, but I loved The Simpsons - Used to alternate between that and Recess when my eldest was a tiny - Eat my shorts was his favourite saying

<sigh>

Now its "Fuck Da Police"....British Middle class parenting at its best.....

Regards

 

Bacman

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BarrelChested

@Baclofenman Regarding the "therapy" I received so many years ago: we didn't have the term "PTSD" in those days. And if we had had it, it would have been tantamount to "malingering." To be clear, I'm not discounting that it's very real; I'm saying that the military does not care for its personnel. We treat servicemembers and veterans as badly has the homeless & hardened felons. The other group of people that we treat horribly (in the USA, IMHO) are the mentally ill. My world came crashing down on me several years later. And then I ditched university and went for a 600mi walk. Hiking for months without society or other interactions... well, I believe that it's a valid form of therapy. While another walk would do me some good, I'm just not able/willing to walk away from the golden handcuffs. Although I'm not in HR (I simply couldn't handle it or fake that), I reached the very top of the technical chain in my field... before switching to another field within technology. I'm just now rising above the fray in this new field. And were I to take a six-month break, I'd lose it all (I've seen it happen to too many people). I'm also afraid of the stigma of getting help. The handful of visits (strictly perfunctory) I made so many years ago... well, I doubt that they did much good (although I was told -- with nearly clockwork precision -- when my life would later explode).

I'm "less well-refreshed," tonight. Although a drink sounds appealing... and might still happen... the side-effects of the Nal are so awful. The dark thoughts and sickening metallic taste overpowered my liquor lust, last night. I've only done an hour of exercise, today, and the compulsion to drink is noticeably stronger. I think that it takes a good 2-3hours to really make a dent in my thirst. Has anyone else noticed whether exercise impacts their drinking?

My drinking started after university... and I had a "rule:" I would only drink on days that I worked out. It didn't take long for me to develop a 10-15hr/wk gym habit. The real killer (still makes me angry) is that I learned only a few years ago that alcohol impairs muscle recovery. If you're going to drink, don't bother working out (er, doing exercise for the benefit of strength training or endurance; there's plenty of literature backing-up this assertion). When I learned this I stopped drinking on workout days, right? Nope: I can (and do) ride 100mi and then go get trashed. Hell, I've gotten trashed the night before a big ride -- and you'd better believe that it has a massive performance impact (as well as making one wish for death).

UCI (the governing body for bicycle racing) has defined marijuana as a performance-enhancing drug. Having combined it with lifting in the past, I can TOTALLY see that. Whereas I was able to 3 sets (and consistently hitting muscle failure) "unaided," I found that pot would let me do 6-7 sets. The "pain" feels good -- much like the catharsis of pain felt in a deep tissue massage. I stopped using it because of my career. However, I'm also not a fan due the the anxiety it can cause. I'd not heard that a vaporizer mitigates this risk. Maybe I'll try that. I've also wanted to experiment with edibles. I've heard that they provide a very different sensation -- a "body high" that's less cerebral and more mellow. I apologize if it's impolite to talk about "other poisons" on this site. However, I have to imagine that pot is less damaging to your health (er, unless you're scarfing-down bags of crisps and biscuits after smoking) than booze. Pot makes me lethargic and lazy (er, and hungry). Booze... well, I don't realize how much booze impacts me until I've stopped drinking for a week or so. Er, two weeks -- which is approximately how long it takes me to be able to fall asleep without it (last night was a tad rough).  Annnnyway...

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StuckinLA

Usually after a workout (what passes for a 'workout' in my world) I desperately want a drink. I feel as though I've earned it, you know? Kind of like when I have a good writing day, which usually only happens after a few days or a week without booze, it seems as though I've done well and am entitled to a night of relaxing with a bottle.

I'd be interested in knowing more about vaporizers, too. Especially considering pot is about to be legal here in CA. But I gave up my medical card because it gives me terrible panic attacks, usually, when I smoke. Never tried edibles. 

And I am right there with you on the insomnia post-AF time. Couple weeks minimum before I'm falling asleep easily and getting a solid night's sleep. I can usually drift off for an hour, but then I wake in these horrible, woozy and heart-racing attacks that are as close as I can imagine to the Reaper actually pulling me out of bed.

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BarrelChested

@StuckinLA I'll venture a theory that you need to do a fairly heavy workout to get the disincentive to drink. Endorphins/encephkalins are the body's natural "morphine." Perhaps because I'm taking the Nal, they're acting as a deterrent against (or stand-in for) booze. Today was two thirty-minute bike rides with an hour of hot yoga in the middle. And I'm having a 5% beverage -- mostly because I'm pretty stressed out.

Regarding edibles: there's plenty of information about making your own. Preparation (e.g., using oil/butter to extract the THC) is required for it to be effective. And it takes hours to kick-in (and this is the reason I don't remember the time I tried it -- over-consumed thinking that it wasn't working).

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BarrelChested

@StuckinLA I've found great success with Valerian Root. Personally, I find that it smells like decaying [used] jock strap... but it does help me sleep. In the USA, it's widely available at even the national supermarkets. The one caveat I'll attach to it is this: be absolutely certain that you take it only when you're able to get a FULL night's sleep; allocate at least ten (10) hours to sleeping. I've found that if I don't wake naturally (i.e., without an alarm) after VR, I suffer from significant lethargy throughout the day. Having said this, I'd ask a pharmacist (and do web searches for/about) if there are any known or anecdotally-reported interactions with any of of the medications you're taking (legal or otherwise). Herbal supplements are a tricky business.  Just because something is "natural" doesn't mean that it's "safe" or that it "plays nicely with others." The FDA is a bit of a co-opted joke... but they do have some value. And (luckily) they don't regulate Valerian Root. If they did, it might cost $100/pill (look at what those #!@$s did with Colchicine -- should be criminal).  Let us know if that helps at all.  Oh, and I'm not kidding about the "adequate window of time."

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Ne1

Hi, Barrel, and a very belated welcome to the forum. We are small but mighty. 

So much good stuff to respond to, in your posts, and from other people. But rather than responding to everything, I'll stick to a couple of points. Or try, anyway. 

I tried Nal for a couple of days, a couple of times. It makes me very nauseous, even at 12.5mg. That said, it sounds as though perhaps it's working for you and I agree it needs both commitment and time. Everything needs commitment and time. You know that! But changing a habit, particularly one that is a function of disease, can be excruciatingly hard. (Just ask a Type 2 Diabetic. Or any other person with addiction or even PTSD. It's fucking tough, man, to do what's right when doing what's wrong is the only thing that makes things feel right. Even if it is short-lived.)

Bac is always an option, and can be used as an addition to Nal. It's no shortcut, and you've listed some downsides to it. Another one is that, unlike Nal, it can't really be stopped. 

Do you still really have to disclose that you are seeking psychiatric help and/or taking psychiatric medications if you're in the military or to get a security clearance? I ask because I have a very good friend whose husband is an anesthesiologist in the Navy. He, too, was too concerned about it being on his "official" record and was a mess. She finally convinced him to see a psychiatrist, he started on meds, and she says he's a completely different (and better) man for it. Also, the only thing naltrexone is prescribed for is alcoholism, so it's already officially on the record unless you're paying cash for all of the transactions. (Which you could do to get therapy/see a psych, too.) 

I don't understand when people say they think they're addiction is psychological. It's a chemistry problem, at the very least, and a fundamental biological dysfunction for many of us. You say you've lost people on both sides of your family to the disease... It's hereditary. There's plenty of research that make it (addiction) a study of complex neurobiological function, not behavioral modification. (Before I get lambasted, let me be clear that I value the addition of psychology and psychological approaches--some of them--to treat the people who have addiction, but that it is, imho, all a matter of brain chemistry. Exercise, nutrition, changing expectations and other things that create new synapses or get the old ones functioning are still a matter of neurobiology, or as you noted, perhaps gut flora or both, plus who knows what else, rather than behavioral changes in and of themselves.) 

On 10/31/2016 at 1:46 AM, BarrelChested said:

 I'm clouded by a profound Nal-induced darkness, these days. I feel like a complete loser -- that I'm single... and much like a cosmetically malformed piece of fruit; until I can put the booze away, no one will ever see my profound worth. The other side of the coin is less pleasant. If not for the remorse and self-loathing of drinking... well, my life wouldn't be perfect... but I have the fantasy that it would eventually be better. It sucks when no  one loves you. It sucks most when you don't even love yourself. Luckily, though, I think that this is just the side-effects of Naltrexone. Damn it, this drug is brutal.
 

I can completely relate to everything you said after the first sentence, except that I'm not single. Being married does not preclude someone from feeling cosmetically malformed (love your metaphor) or undervalued. 

And being a drunk, for me, means that I am not only full of remorse and self-loathing, something I didn't experience when I was sober (not abstinent) for four years, but it also makes me feel extremely isolated, unloved, unlovable and definitely unable to love myself. So perhaps it's not the Nal? I don't know, never having experienced it (the Nal) but I can definitely relate to the rest as a side effect of having this monkey on my back. Without it, I am, frankly, not so bad. With it, I can barely function. 

Which brings me to my final (oh, thank god!) point about your vision of your sober self. Dude, do not be fooled. That vision is a lie. I stopped watching tv. I stopped doing a whole lot of things that were really lame and sucked up my time, years of it, and aptitude. When I beat booze, I felt like a SuperHero, and acted a little bit like one, too. (It was a little nauseating in the beginning, but I got better after my friends got sick of my know-it-all-ness. At least I had friends and an active social life, which I never did when I was drinking. And I had the wherewithal to figure out that I was being incredibly annoying and changed it. Again, couldn't have done that when drinking, either.) 

I'm really glad you've joined and are sharing openly and honestly. It's a bonus to be able to do that, and has helped me a great deal over the years. On the one hand, it's an anonymous online forum for drunks, so you're pretty safe being brutally honest. On the other hand, I've made friends from this kind of place that have lasted years and they are beyond my ability to express gratitude for in words. 

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BarrelChested

There are quite a lot of things I'd like to say. Alas, my attention span is... SQUIRREL!! Anyway, as I was -- SQUIRREL!!! It's a dumb reference which [hopefully] some of you will get.

Thank you. Thank you for helping me when I can see that you're fighting big battles on your own turf. I "ventured out" and read some of @Ne1 's posts (I want to call her "ALL THE THINGS!") and those of @StuckinLA .  Stuck, you... again, thanks for your compassion.

I'm a positive person. Er, a "closeted" positive person. I'm outwardly cynical/pessimistic. In truth, I truly hope for the best. I never lose my optimism. You know, it never hurts less when love fails. It just doesn't. It's a plummet into despair and sorrow. But with time, we learn that although it doesn't hurt any less... well, we know that the pain isn't eternal. We recover more quickly.  My first "true love gone sour" took me a year to get over. The last one? About 4-6 weeks.

I digress. You know, perhaps there's a trick of mine that I can share. A friend brought-back two bottles of very expensive rum from Puerto Rico (I recently visited) as a gift. I opened one (and have had a third of it)... but that's it. When I returned from Guatemala with some (at that time unavailable in the U.S.) transcendent-ly good rum, those two bottles lasted almost two years. That Guatemalan rum was aged for a minimum of 23 years -- through regime change, through drought, through hard times -- they didn't drink it, burn it, sell it, or otherwise destroy it. Some things have [perceived] intrinsic value. So...

Would it "work" for you (pl) to give yourselves an "allowance" of good booze? I have approximately 10 gallons of cider brewing, currently. Although it's technically drinkable after two weeks... well, it's not great. In fact, it's fairly "rough." After six months, it's quite nice. Until six months pass, it's "not booze." So, if you stagger your brewing (having brewed beer and also distilled in Organic Chemistry, I have to say that this is by-far the easiest thing to attempt)... maybe your "treat" is contingent upon you waiting?  The longer you wait, the better it gets.  Should you choose this route, let me save you from the snobbery and hassle of the purists -- go get glass-bottled organic non-preserved (this is critical) apple juice. Pop the top, pour-off 1-2 cups of the juice, add champagne yeast and a sanitized stopper and airlock... and then wait. Personally, I "rack" to a different vessel after two weeks... but that's optional. A gallon of organic apple juice costs $9. The yeast costs $1. So, it's not a cheap drunk. But, psychologically, you're creating something of value. And you destroy that value by premature consumption. Even better, you can TASTE the difference. Annnnnnyway, it's a thought. I know from long-distance cycling that "it's all mental." I've subjected my body (cycling and otherwise) to extreme punishment. You know what? The mind is a funny, bewildering, amazing thing. I've gone three days without sleeping. I spent two 6-week periods of sleeping 2-3 non-contiguous hours per day. I've hiked for up to 33mi/day for weeks. We adapt. We learn tricks. Cycling is a "head game." You learn to lie to yourself -- much like the alcoholics justify anything -- to get what you want.  I remember being on particularly brutal ride. The headwind was punishing. Er, more punishing than usual. I was not in a good place. Cyclists have a place that we call "the pain cave." It's an apt description -- the world becomes smaller... your vision "tunnels" and all you feel is suffering... and you can't really raise your head past your front wheel. It hurts. And in that "space," I told myself, "yeah, there's wind... but that's really just hitting your torso; your legs are rounded and the wind will just wrap around them; you can keep moving those at a regular rate." It fscking worked. It's still a "trick" that works for me. The idea that the wind doesn't affect my legs is ludicrous. Except that it works for me.  Tell yourselves lies. "No, that cider isn't ready -- but, man, it's gonna be awesome when it is." I dunno. I'm trying to help but perhaps I'm being a d1ck. >>shrug<<

Baclofen sounds just as bad as Naltrexone. I had nausea and diarrhea on Nal... but it wasn't bloody (my norm)... so, it was easy. Those symptoms subsided. As did the confusion. The "darkness" is a constant companion on Nal. I played Jazz for over three hours, tonight, at a bar... and yet that's not enough. There are first-world problems... and then there's this. To play improvisational, complex music with others is a community and sharing that 99.9% of even the most hardcore hippies couldn't imagine. It's a feeling that's better than sex. Er, unless you're on Nal. [on Naltrexone] It's as though your heart's song were theme music for H1tler raping baby newborns to death. Okay, that was actually over-the-top ridiculous humor... (the sick version thereof)... but Nal is a real downer. I'm hesitant to explore Baclofen. If it's just physiological, fine. But if it's more "darkness..." I'm just not that strong.

 

Annnyway, there's a pillow with my name on it. And, fsck, wet sheets. Ugh. This is what happens when you (I) drink. F###.

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Felina
7 hours ago, BarrelChested said:

Baclofen sounds just as bad as Naltrexone. I had nausea and diarrhea on Nal... but it wasn't bloody (my norm)... so, it was easy. Those symptoms subsided. As did the confusion. The "darkness" is a constant companion on Nal. I played Jazz for over three hours, tonight, at a bar... and yet that's not enough. There are first-world problems... and then there's this. To play improvisational, complex music with others is a community and sharing that 99.9% of even the most hardcore hippies couldn't imagine. It's a feeling that's better than sex. Er, unless you're on Nal. [on Naltrexone] It's as though your heart's song were theme music for H1tler raping baby newborns to death. Okay, that was actually over-the-top ridiculous humor... (the sick version thereof)... but Nal is a real downer. I'm hesitant to explore Baclofen. If it's just physiological, fine. But if it's more "darkness..." I'm just not that strong.

@BarrelChested, I love your posts. Your writing has a jazz-like quality to it. And I got the squirrel reference! 

Baclofen was a godsend for me. It undoubtedly saved my life. The titration to indifference was...interesting, and sometimes uncomfortable (I had a lot of nausea and dizziness whenever I'd increase my dosage). But there was also a lot of euphoria and CRAZY-assed dreams, which I actually enjoyed. Good music really triggered the baclofen euphoria for me, and it seems to do that for a lot of people. We used to discuss the strange baclofen/music connection on the old website quite a bit. Anyway, most of the side effects (good and bad) faded away after I achieved indifference. 

But some people have far more difficult titrations, and a good deal of people "drop out" due to side effects. It depends so much on the individual. I can certainly understand your hesitation.

Your experience with Nal sounds awful! I've never heard anyone reference that sort of darkness before when talking about Nal. 

My attitude towards all medications for alcoholism is: Whichever one does the trick is the best one for you. 

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