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Ne1

Checking In--December 2017

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Ne1    1,153
Ne1

Hi all. It's been many moons since I've checked in here, or anywhere. 

Things are about the same in my world, I suppose. At least from the outside looking in. But the inside, that's moving and shaking. 

It's been so long that I don't really know where to start. I feel like I should (re-)introduce myself. So I will. 

Hopeless because of booze, I read Olivier Ameisen's book The Last Glass,  did a google search and found My Way Out and baclofen. After a year of struggling, I found indifference, (2010) which for me meant that I was contentedly sober and completely free from craving and all the sh*t that comes with active addiction, regardless of sobriety. First time in my life (and I'm old enough that for an 80s-themed Halloween party, I wore clothes I actually owned in the 80s. Ha.) It was a miracle. Then I relapsed. That started around the beginning of 2014. There were many reasons. I've been struggling with booze and life ever since. 

Whew. Okay. So I think that covers the  intro. Now, a personal note. I'm better. So much better. I guess, somehow, depression has finally lifted. Still not sure if I'm going to stay married to Ed, still not working in medicine (urg) and still drinking, though less and not--for the most part--in a completely debilitating way. Starting to titrate up on baclofen as of today, after a long, long time of not doing anything to actively combat booze. Well, other than too many therapy sessions and journaling and all that other stuff you're (I'm) supposed to do. I've missed you guys. And been ashamed, or angry, or whatever. I haven't written, in any kind of a real way, in so long that I didn't know if I'd ever write again. But here I am, with a commitment (for what those are worth) to checking in regularly. Daily, if possible. 

I will read back this weekend, and try to figure out what's going on outside of Ne-land in this lovely place, and on MWO. Forgive me for the intrusion. I hesitated to start a new monthly thread, but decided What the Hell. No room for being self-conscious, even though I've been a lout and a knucklehead. 

Some other things about me, that are imperative for people to know... I haven't lost my adoration of parentheses, commas or elipses. If I'd had Stuck as a teacher for my English 101, I'd be set. Or maybe I'd have been too distracted to pay attention to the grammar lessons... ;)

xx

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Molly78    790
Molly78

How great to hear from you, Ne.  You sound in quite good spirits as well!

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Ne1    1,153
Ne1

Hiya, Molls. Yep, I'm in pretty good spirits. Pun intended. 

I did read the November thread. Didn't take long, considering how short it was. :( 

Embarrassing to see that I wrote almost the same thing when I started the thread last month. But, well, this time I mean it. 

Did I write anywhere about going to Yogaville for my birthday in September? It was really wonderful even though I was disappointed in the program and instructor I signed up for. But the vibe is awesome, in the true meaning of that word, and the monks (are women monks? I'm not sure...) were inspiring. There was one woman (monk?) who wandered through the dorms at 6am playing her violin. I woke to ethereal sound emanating from the very air. It was a profound way to start the day. Anyway, I think I'm going to go back for a silent retreat from Dec 28 to Jan 1. Neat way to start the new year, isn't it? 

What else? I met a doctor at a wedding who runs a practice nearby and is very interested in getting me to work for the practice as a case manager. The practice treats Medicare patients (meaning people over 65 with government insurance) and is in a low income part of the area. Most of the patients are needy, and very sick. (5 chronic illnesses, average age 71...) I don't know if I'll need a license to get the job, but if I do, I'll start studying and take the gd exam in January. In the meantime, I'm taking a position at the ministry I work for in order to try and organize, implement and manage the thrift store/clothing assistance program. (We serve the homeless and the needy in a very economically depressed area. Food assistance, a soup kitchen, clothing assistance, a shelter, etc.) It's exciting, not because of the retail part (ugh) but because there's a new database I helped design, I'll hire a completely new staff, and hopefully make them a bunch of sorely needed money. I figure it'll take about 6 weeks, and then I'll move on to something in actual healthcare. Oh, and I'm going to try and start a program there that will help people get state identification. Especially since they need it to vote! Though that's not their priority. Food and shelter are usually the priority when someone needs to replace or get a new ID. But it's worth noting that they might need it to vote, and I really want them to vote. (Yay, Virginia! Proud of the turnout for the last election.) 

Another reason it's very exciting is because there's a donor who (apparently) has as much of a shoe fetish as I do, but has a lot more money, and wears my size. In cleaning up and organizing, I found 10 pairs of like-new shoes that I just HAD to have. Even at thrift store prices, they weren't cheap. But SOOOO worth it. Anyone else with a shoe fetish out there? Dolce and Gabbana. Ferragamos. Kate Spade. All ridiculous for practical purposes. But there's nothing practical about my love of ridiculous shoes. Check these babies out:

5a231f7e275eb_Redboots.JPG.2fa672917f797382f68cd9fb6018d34f.JPG

 

I would totally understand if you were jealous. I would also totally understand if you thought I was ridiculous and should shut up about the shoes. Whatevs. Red boots make me feel like I can conquer the world. Red boots with a three inch heel make me wonder woman. And they also make me hobble. Definitely to be worn when I'm planning on sitting. ha. 

What else?

I read that article about the GABA meds being risky. Don't know how I feel about it, honestly. Didn't have enough information for me to make a decision, and I haven't googled to follow up. It's common knowledge that Pregabalin is a dicey med, especially for people with addiction issues. It's also a very important and necessary medication for some people. And gabapentin? hmmmm. I'd be REALLY surprised if it truly turned out to be abusable, not to mention addictive. I can relate to the chick in the article who said it knocked her out. It used to do that to me, too, when I first started taking it. FTR, I don't take it anymore. 

Still dismayed about the response of the French government to baclofen. It'll be a huge relief when/if arbaclofen is approved/released. Fingers crossed it won't take too much longer. I find myself pretty hopeless in the thinking that there'll be research done with baclofen. And I agree that de Beaurepaire's research was not the quality we want and need in order to understand and use baclofen. But I thought, at the time, it was a start. Now it seems like it was also the end. (An article about baclofen self-poisoning may indicate one of the reasons the French decided to stop the endorsement of baclofen treatment for addiction. You will need register or log in to read this content Still a shame, though.) 

It's worth noting that the guy who has done the most research on baclofen, Addolorato (right?) also didn't support HDB. Never have figured out why. 

Anyone heard of Kratom? Tried it? 

I'm gonna try to finish decorating the outside this evening, with plans to have people over next weekend. Must get the lights up! And my amazingly tacky red tinsel tree on the porch. 

Hope y'all are having a good day/evening/weekend. 

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StuckinLA    975
StuckinLA

I spent all my tutoring money on these, @Ne1, they'll be arriving in January :D Should be the only pair of brown dress shoes I'll ever need: You will need register or log in to read this content.

 

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Felina    395
Felina

Wow, @ne1, you are really thriving! Congratulations. I'm so glad the depression lifted!

This should come as ZERO surprise to you, but we are in essentially the same fields doing remarkably similar jobs. (I currently do case management-type work at an agency for the aging. I also speak to groups about Medicare.)

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Mom2JTx3    408
Mom2JTx3

Happy December everyone.  Why does decorating take so dang long?  Second weekend and still not done :( 

Hi @Ne1!  Good to see you!  Glad to hear you’re doing well.  That article you cited was scary. :( 

Have you guys seen the Baclofen article that @DonQuixote posted?  Really outstanding. A must read for all Bac users and a fantastic summary of HDB treatment.  Written by The Who’s who of Baclofen experts including Amanda Stafford.  Have a look!

a-prescription-guide-for-baclofen-in-alc

 

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Otter    272
Otter

Hi @Ne1  Glad to see you're back in the saddle.  

The most recent news from France is that the government safety agency is now planning to have public hearings on baclofen next year. They haven't responded to the lawsuit or the petitions, or changed their position. It's one of those things in life that's frustrating and will work itself out over a long time, like other troubling political things going on around the world: You will need register or log in to read this content

My paper is now listed on an academic site: You will need register or log in to read this content  It's on the Semantic Scholar site. It seems to have been uploaded there by a lawyer in the US, B. Joyce Kelley, who is involved with mental health courts: You will need register or log in to read this content

None of this was ever going to be easy.  Scientists and doctors are a conservative bunch. Research scientist aren't going to lend support to this because they aren't clinicians and don't have expertise in the application of their discoveries in public health. They all hide behind their specialties.  Going outside their specialisations tends to diminish their credibility.  Neither Chick nor Heydtmann would stick their necks out either, so it's more a matter now of pushing this in the legal and political realms, I'm afraid, and continuing to spread the word here and anywhere else people go to get help which their doctors won't give them. 

My wife had some cosmetic surgery to help reverse the sagging etc which comes from all the abuse she's put her body through over the years with weight gain and loss.  She's trussed up like a turkey and in a lot of pain.  

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StuckinLA    975
StuckinLA
On 12/2/2017 at 2:07 PM, Ne1 said:

Anyone heard of Kratom? Tried it? 

Didn't @fredson try this at some point? He still around?

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Otter    272
Otter
12 hours ago, StuckinLA said:

Didn't @fredson try this at some point? He still around?

I've not heard of it here or anywhere. I thought for a moment you were referring to a character in the UK cult TV series Red Dwarf and had to look it up but it's not the same:

Kryten, full name Kryten 2X4B-523P (played by Robert Llewellyn from series III onwards, and as a one-off appearance in series II by David Ross), was rescued by the crew from the crashed spaceship Nova 5 in series II, upon which he had continued to serve the ship's crew despite their having been dead for thousands or even millions of years. Kryten is a Service Mechanoid and when first encountered by the crew, he was bound by his "behavioural protocols", but Lister gradually encouraged him to break his programming and think for himself. His change in appearance between the two actors is explained away by an accident involving Lister's spacebike and Lister having to repair him.

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Ne1    1,153
Ne1
On 12/3/2017 at 2:00 AM, StuckinLA said:

I spent all my tutoring money on these, @Ne1, they'll be arriving in January :D Should be the only pair of brown dress shoes I'll ever need: You will need register or log in to read this content.

 

Those shoes are very spiffy, Stuck. Really dig them. The COST. OMG. But the thing about men's shoes lasting forever and women's shoes lasting a season is both frustrating and fabulous. I mean, I'm no fashionista, not by any stretch, but when I want to feel fab, I buy a new pair of shoes. Nice that they're good for the environment and you're sticking to your commitment. I admire it. 

On 12/3/2017 at 11:45 AM, Felina said:

Wow, @ne1, you are really thriving! Congratulations. I'm so glad the depression lifted!

This should come as ZERO surprise to you, but we are in essentially the same fields doing remarkably similar jobs. (I currently do case management-type work at an agency for the aging. I also speak to groups about Medicare.)

No surprise, sister. But given how hard you work, I should rethink going for the position! Haha!

On 12/3/2017 at 8:32 PM, Mom2JTx3 said:

Happy December everyone.  Why does decorating take so dang long?  Second weekend and still not done :( 

Hi @Ne1!  Good to see you!  Glad to hear you’re doing well.  That article you cited was scary. :( 

Have you guys seen the Baclofen article that @DonQuixote posted?  Really outstanding. A must read for all Bac users and a fantastic summary of HDB treatment.  Written by The Who’s who of Baclofen experts including Amanda Stafford.  Have a look!

a-prescription-guide-for-baclofen-in-alc

 

Still haven't finished decorating. Not having people over, because the house is still flooded with boxes of baubles. Not to mention the teeny-weeny shopping spree I've been on. It's more gargantuan than teeny-weeny. I've got Amazon boxes in my bathroom I'm hiding from my husband. I'm guessing it goes with feeling better. And retail therapy. And the time of year. Anyway...

That article IS scary, but no surprise given the fact that the people were self-medicating. Very, very frustrating. And totally expected. "Here's a possible antidote to what has plagued you, but you can't have it, and if you do get it, you won't get any support at all for it." My therapist (pdoc) sent me the article, which quadruples my frustration, because she's moving into a more "holistic" practice and away from medications. ffs. Really? 

There is a court case in...New England...where the defense's argument is that the woman (an opioid addict) cannot be charged as a criminal when she has a medical condition that is defined by relapse. Note that the defense isn't saying she isn't responsible for her actions, just that she has a medical, not a criminal, condition. It's breathtaking. And honestly, if I were ever charged with doing anything related to my drinking, I'd hire a lawyer to make that case. It's not about not taking responsibility, it's about not being criminalized. Rant over, I guess. Not that I made a coherent, cohesive or particularly effective argument. But I figure I'm mostly preaching to the choir. 

As well as I'm doing, and as much has changed in a month, I'm still struggling. That said, it's actually really great to hear your feedback (thank you!) and to be able to read back a bit and see just how much has really changed. I had lunch yesterday with one of my good-girlfriends and I even noticed how different I felt when talking to her. She's very accomplished, very together, stupidly smart, and I felt...comfortable...yesterday. It's been a long time since I've felt that way around her or most of my other friends. The irony of depression is that they love me, want the best for me, wanted to do something or anything to help me feel better, and there just wasn't anything that could have been done. No way do they see me as poorly as I see (saw?) myself. I met them, this group, when I was getting sober with baclofen the first time. They didn't know anything about it then, know almost everything about it now, and it hasn't changed anything. Or rather, it changed everything for the better. But man, depression sucks. It sucks the life, the love, the very soul into abyss. And it scares me. 

On that cheery note, I'm out. :) 

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Felina    395
Felina
On 12/2/2017 at 4:07 PM, Ne1 said:

It's common knowledge that Pregabalin is a dicey med, especially for people with addiction issues. It's also a very important and necessary medication for some people. And gabapentin? hmmmm. I'd be REALLY surprised if it truly turned out to be abusable, not to mention addictive. I can relate to the chick in the article who said it knocked her out. It used to do that to me, too, when I first started taking it. FTR, I don't take it anymore. 

Anyone heard of Kratom? Tried it? 

 

I have a friend who almost died of alcoholic hepatitis. He stopped drinking, but ended up barely able to walk due to alcohol-induced neuropathy. He went on Lyrica/pregabalin and is now addicted to it. It sucks. 

I have never tried Kratom but it reminds me of a certain troll who used to promote it on MWO. Ha. Good riddance.

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Molly78    790
Molly78

@Ne1 if you read the links that @empyr3al posted on gaba it's clear that large numbers of people have trouble coming off it - which, if it doesn't strictly meet the criteria for addiction (craving, needing larger doses for the same effect etc), is a big problem.  There's a new poster on here @TeetotalRecall who is having problems getting off it.

I  think you're naive if you think you can dabble with something like kratom which has opioid effects & is known to be addictive.  I was much too casual in jumping into gaba for sleep - got a bit overconfident I guess after having successfully self-medicated with bac.  Will definitely be more careful in future & have stopped messing about with 5HT, L-tryptophan, even though these seem relatively benign.  Also will not be using modafinil again, not that that's addictive but all these things mess up your brain chemistry.  And we are addicts, we are more likely than the rest of the population to become dependant on anything - it's our nature, we have a disease as you point out above.

wrt criminal responsibility & addiction @Otter has written a lot about that.

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Ne1    1,153
Ne1

@Felina, that's funny about kratom and the troll. I heard about it from my therapist. She wasn't promoting it, just mentioned it in passing. She's got a friend who's using it for tea. When I googled, I read a bunch of stuff and I was still pretty ambivalent. It's hard to judge something worthy by a bunch of drama or online wahoo testimonials. Baclofen off-label worked for me. Where would I be without it? And what would happen if I hadn't done the research and found my solution?  Add to it that I'm very skeptical of government organizations and generalized warnings. .. I guess I'm jaded/skeptical/open-minded. In that order. 

 @Molly78, if there's anything I've learned in all these years of reading and posting and researching, not to mention nursing school, it's that everything comes with a price. Some of them substantial. Some of them not so much. And the hyperbole doesn't necessarily equal the cost/benefit analysis. 

That really sucks about your friend, Felina. Sorry. From what I've read, pregabalin sounds like a wonder drug. In a bad way. For a while there, it seemed like 'the perfect pill'. I'd love to try it if I wasn't absolutely convinced it would ruin my life. I don't need anything I love as much as I love booze, and pregabalin sounds like it hits the trifecta: anxiety, depression, insecurity. Along with paranoia, completely inappropriate behavior, and addiction. *sigh* 

Gabapentin? Not so much. But we can agree to disagree.  I'll read teetotal's posts and see if I can offer some support. It sucks to feel beholden to anything, even if it's benadryl. (diphenhydramine hydrochloride) And no! I'm not suggesting they're equivalent! Really, I'm not. Keep reading! I'm pointing out that regular use can lead to escalating use can lead to dependence. Even without the escalating use it can lead to dependence. But benadryl is one of the most inert medications available. That said, the last rehab I went to wouldn't allow anyone to take it and didn't prescribe it because addicts 'like it too much.' Really. I'll not belabor the point, just saying that use, overuse, dependence of or on anything can lead to a world of misery. And that doesn't necessarily mean the medication is addictive. Nor does it mean that every addict is going to get addicted to something considered addictive. 

The contrary is true, too. The hyperbole in the news will tell you that if you're an addict (past dependent, but truly ruining you life) you'll get addicted to other addictive substances. Not always true. Research shows the opposite. Most of us don't have that reaction. Now I'm not suggesting that anyone try addictive substances to combat any kind of addiction. I'm not even suggesting herbals or supplements, for goodness sakes. Just say no. (ha.) So, rather than get into a maelstrom of conflicting opinions about what addiction is and means and is defined by, I'll just say this: 

For some people some drugs or medications or alcohol doesn't cause addiction, no matter how much one takes or for how long. For others, like me, love-for-drug happens almost immediately. I loved booze as soon as I stopped getting sick from it. And for others, the majority,  they  can have an addiction to one thing and not another. No matter how much they use, take, swallow, ingest. It's a hard pill to swallow (pun intended) that some of us with alcoholism can take medications, or even 'illicit' drugs, without becoming addicted or screwing up one's life. In fact, sometimes, those things might be beneficial. And vice versa, of course. 

One of my best friends was a meth addict back in the early 00s, before I knew him. He's missing teeth and everything. I point that out to illustrate that he wasn't casually using. When he was forcibly rehabbed he thought his life was over and was desperate for relief. This was long before meth hit our streets, y'all. Which is beside the point, except that no-one knew what to do with him. The rote is that he can't drink and can't use anything else, medications or illicit drugs, that might induce a relapse. That's hogwash. Perpetuated by hyperbolic tropes, like A Million Little Pieces, (totally discredited) suggesting that even novacaine and other inert pain killers are destined to lead one to relapse. Hogwash, again. My friend is can drink smokes or eats pot. He takes antianxiety, and other mental-medications. Is he an addict? Nope. Hasn't touched his true love, drug-of-choice, in almost 20 years. Doesn't abuse meds or drugs and isn't dependent on them. (Well, depression meds, hypertension and cholesterol.) 

Look, do as you want to do. And do some research! But if you're in active addiction, don't let internet horror stories deter you from finding a solution. The solution might be a pill, or a variety (or lots) of pills. It might include holistic supplements, benign or active. It might mean ordering stuff online! Nutrition, exercise, those things make a huge difference. As does being involved.

The thing is, back when I got involved, it was with an online community of anonymous people, and I was taking a medication I ordered online, even though I didn't believe in or take medications and was convinced that online communities were full of terrors and trolls. 

Now I know better. 

Lots of baclofen, then lots of finding out what works for me to live contentedly long term (and still not there), and lots of getting involved. 

And holy wow do I love my job, at the moment. Don't let me forget the enthusiasm! It's fun to start something new and get others involved and...hope!

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StuckinLA    975
StuckinLA

December 8, 2017. It's official, one year sober. Feels like something that should be celebrated at a bar.

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Ne1    1,153
Ne1

WOOOHOOOOO! Amazing, Stuck. And funny. 

So what did you do to celebrate? And, well, do you want to expand a little bit (or a lot) on how you did it and what it means and anything else that comes to mind about having TWELVE WHOLE MONTHS without booze? Having never, ever done it, and hoping to get there some day, I'd personally like to hear what your thoughts are about the experience. 

Love you, brother. 

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StuckinLA    975
StuckinLA

Don't have a whole lot of insight into what was different, @Ne1. I didn't go to New Orleans 7 months in this time. Part of the 12 month thing feels like a trap, like before you get there it seems like an endpoint. And now that you reach it you're like: Great, I did it. Thank God that's over. 

But of course it's not over. It's just one more damned day. I'm not counting days, haven't at all this time around. I did mark the months, though, and I was getting sick of even that and very hopeful that now I've hit the 12 maybe I'll stop even unconsciously notching the months. We'll see how things go, obviously, but it sure would be nice not to think about booze or--better--not think about sobriety until next December. 

I didn't do anything to celebrate. Went out for a massage, but the first place I tried was busy, so I ended up washing my car and going back home. Read for a while, watched a little TV, turned in early. Rockin' Friday night, let me tell ya'. Also my girl has been out of town this past week, a girls' trip to celebrate her 40th birthday, which was yesterday. Nothing else really going on. I've been writing a little, finishing up the term's classes and getting ready for the next term. Reading. Started casually collecting Cormac McCarthy books. I now have 3 first editions (The Crossing, Cities of the Plain, and The Road) but that'll be it probably for a while, since first editions of his others are crazy expensive. Still looking for a reasonably priced All the Pretty Horses, though.

And building a wardrobe, kind of. That pair of shoes is a once-in-a-lifetime purchase, and I don't intend to look for another pair of brown dress shoes ever again :D. Getting a new suit for Xmas. Decided to stop wearing Tshirts to work, and started wearing a blazer almost every day. Retail therapy is real. 

I've been keeping my laptop kind of away from my desk, and my phone even farther from me. I've deleted all of my social media, except for Instagram because I only use it to post pictures of my cats and my rabbit and my grandmother likes to see those. I've been using my typewriter to work, the one that I got back from the shop. Still waiting on the other one, which is the one I like more of the two. Still, it's been good, refreshing in a way.

Other than that all I've been doing is not drinking. Not going out to bars, nor to anywhere else really. And that's about it. I honestly wish I had more to say about how this year has gone, something reproducible. Like, do this or don't do that. Trust in your Higher Power or some bullshit. But mostly I just remember last November, how awful and out of control that was. Then I thank my lucky stars that this past year has been different.

Edited by StuckinLA
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