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The End of my Addiction

TerryK - I cured my alcoholism with High Dose Baclofen


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My name is TerryK and I'm no longer an alcoholic. I've been on high-dose baclofen for more than six years, and indifferent to alcohol for more than five.  There is so much distance between who I am now, and the person I used to be, who *needed* to drink every.single.day to fall asleep, to quell anxiety, to lift depression, or to celebrate that it's hard to find new words to describe what that past was like - so I'm just going to borrow pieces from updates that I've written over the years on MWO and let them live here from now on (edited, and hopefully a bit more concise).

25 years ago - I started drinking in college.

19 years ago - I was drinking most nights, and probably pretty heavily on the weekends. It never got in the way of my life, my job, or anything really. I could stop if I really wanted to, with maybe a sweaty, sleepless night or two. I took a couple of weeks off here and there only when I had to.

13 years ago - I was drinking pretty heavily every night, and getting shitfaced on the weekends. I powered through my daily hangovers with aplomb. I could always wait until after work, or even after the gym, to start drinking, but absolutely, I needed at least 5 or 6 to fall asleep. I was concerned, but I wasn't able to cut back.

9 years ago - I could barely wait to get home from work to start drinking. I planned my days around where I could get alcohol. I carried a hip flask. I hid bottles in my house. I hid my drinking from my girlfriend. I considered a six-pack of pounders (8 US units) a sober night for me on weekdays, then I would get completely obliterated Friday and Saturday hoping to be able to taper back down to my 6 (8) beers a night maybe by Wednesday with Friday just around the corner. If I wasn't drunk enough when I went to bed, I would wake up after a few hours without being able to fall back asleep. I started drinking in the middle of the night. I started drinking in the morning. All efforts to cut back failed over and over.

7 years ago - My life was completely unraveling. I would wake up sometimes with a panicky, retching sickness that I could only stop with a couple of shots of hard liquor. I missed work. I snuck drinks on the job. I obtained some benzos to stave off my withdrawal during the day and wound up propelling my drinking to the stratosphere. I switched to the cheapest vodka. I sometimes drank mouthwash. My health was failing (Liver Panel, Gout, High Blood Pressure). I felt like I was dying. I wanted to die. I went to the ER a handful of times; Outpatient detox twice, and inpatient detox twice.

6 1/2 years ago - I got home from my 2nd inhouse detox and white-knuckled for the next 5 months without alcohol. Everyday seemed like a waste - I was miserable, and I made everyone else miserable.

6 years ago - After reading "The End of My Addiction," I started self-medicating with baclofen that I purchased online, soon after from a local psychiatrist.

5 years, 9 months ago - I was hospitalized while trying to titrate too quickly on baclofen. 150mg/day to 235+mg/day + a lot of alcohol.

5 1/2 years ago - I reached my "switch" - indifference to alcohol @ 280mg/day

Today - Still cured of my alcoholism! Completely indifferent!  I don't count days and it doesn't take any effort.

I'm currently at 160mg/day down from 280mg/day on 9/26/10 (240-220mg/day in all of 2011, 200mg/day in 2012 and 2013, 180mg/day in 2014).

After all of that time, no "other shoe has dropped" - my kidney function/blood work is fine, I'm still sharp and sane, and my indifference is solid despite the couple of beers I have occasionally. I am side-effect free.

I don't like to give advice on how to take Baclofen, but if I were to hazard a guess as to the longevity of my success I would say that staying at/near my switch dose for so long, and titrating down very slowly might be the key.

Some background: I'm in my 40's. I drank heavily for 20 years, just about every night for the first 15, and more often during the days, then 24/7 towards the end. Typical week night for me was 8 beers and almost a pint of scotch, weekends were no holds barred.

In my late thirties I had 4 trips to the ER, 2 outpatient detoxes (lorazepam), and 2 inpatient detoxes (phenobarbital). Attempts at moderation invariably put me in the exact place I left off in a month or less. CBT, SSRI's, counseling, did zero. AA was a poor fit for me as well (to put it mildly). I did try Moderation Management online, and had no luck finding Rational Recovery.

I read Ameisen's book in early 2010, and I stumbled upon MWO soon after. I began titrating in March 2010 with Fexobac baclofen ordered online from India (4rx.com) and Neuraxfam baclofen from Germany (Goldpharma). I was then extremely lucky to find a psychiatrist who began writing me a legit script in late spring 2010.

Post "switch," my indifference has been effortless. My titration, however, was *definitely* not. I had very, very severe side-effects and wound up restrained in the ER and hospitalized for 5 days when I tried to increase my dose too high, too soon, and started drinking *A LOT.* Increasing 20mg/week was too rapid for me and I settled closer to 10mg/week, and even then, day 2 after the increase was always a doozy, with intense hallucinations and shocks to my hands/fingers. All in all, it took 7 months of slow, steady titration for me to find indifference @280mg/day.

My answer to overcoming side-effects is 1) slow, steady titration 2) even dosing on an even schedule 60/60/60/60 at 6am/12pm/6pm/12am 3) consistency in brand of baclofen - don't interchange brands day to day and if you need to switch brands do it this way: (100% Brand A to 75% Brand A + 25% Brand B to 50% Brand A + 50% Brand B to 25% Brand A + 75% Brand B to 100% Brand B ).

My yearly update on the old forum included a description of my post-baclofen alcohol consumption that read pretty much like this: "I occasionally have a beer or two (every couple of weeks or so). Except for the time I tried Amesien's "drink a bottle of whisky on baclofen and see if you have cravings the next day" experiment (I passed with flying colors) I haven't been drunk in all of this time (legally or literally), as it is, baclofen makes drinking more than a couple pretty unpleasant for me." I realize that I am lucky in this regard, and I do not believe that my experience means that continued safe, moderate drinking is possible for everyone else on baclofen. As I decrease my daily dose from year to year in an effort to find the minimum effective dose necessary to retain my indifference, I can admit that the beer is not as tasteless now as it was (impossible to drink really) at 280mg/day. However, I have learned with the help of baclofen, to live without alcohol as a cornerstone of my existence - I don't need booze anymore to relax, or socialize, or to help me sleep - and even though the anxiety is still very much present, I have learned coping skills that have kept me from turning to the bottle every time. I know that the future is uncertain, and there are no guarantees that it will last forever for me (especially as I continue to titrate lower - maybe even down to zero some day). The best I can do is to be on the lookout for falling back into bad habits, and to be as honest as I can be with myself about realities of the situation should things start to go south (admittedly a difficult task for those of us with a history of substance abuse). What I do know, is that I don't have to live in fear or anger over alcohol, and if I make any missteps along this path that I'm on, there will never be another day zero - it's been better than 5 really good years, and no matter what happens I will always continue to move forward.

In upcoming posts, I'll detail my side-effects, my baclofen overdose, and put up some more links to my favorite articles on baclofen and addiction....






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Thanks so much for sharing this, tk. It’s really inspiring to see how far you’ve come and that you’ve stayed indifferent for so long. I really appreciate your advice, too, on coming down so slowly from your switch dose. I intend to follow that model myself. Congrats on finding (and keeping) contented sobriety!

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  • 3 years later...
  • 5 months later...

Still I want to stay you check your kidney function and liver function test. I am a well wishers of yours. Don't you have anyone who can stop you from all of these? In you last text you told, you will share about the detail of your side-effects, your baclofen overdose and all of these. We hope we'll come to know it very soon.




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