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The End of my Addiction

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fredson

I'm back. 

After leaving MWO last September I'm pleased to say that I've not come back because things have gotten worse. In many regards, things have improved and I'm ahead now of where I thought I would be then. The reason that I've come back is that the things I care most about- creating a sense of closeness with others, creating something to leave behind, getting a sense of self respect- have gone absolutely nowhere. They've gone nowhere because they are the things above all else that I fear the most, and alcohol is the first place I turn to avoid them. 

This past weekend's wakeup call, although underwhelming and nothing that I would have considered unusual a year ago, really drove this home. Friday I drank (alone) by my fire pit. Saturday I drank (much more than) my family in the evening over a BBQ. Sunday I had planned to get some things done to make up for blowing off the previous two evenings, but despite knowing how much I'd hate myself for throwing the day away, despite knowing full well how much drinking would affect the next couple of days, three terrifying words went through my mind that I had not uttered to myself in a long time: I DON'T CARE. 

I thought those words had disappeared from my vocabulary two years ago after tapering off of baclofen. In reality, they've always been in the background, popping up this Friday night or that Tuesday evening when I didn't want to do what I should have been doing or simply had nothing else to do. What was terrifying about yesterday was that I expressed that sentiment to myself in explicit terms, accepted it and signed off on it. 

 

This is not about drunkenness- I don't get drunk nearly as much as I used to. It's not about work or money- I keep those areas of my life heavily walled off from alcohol after learning the hard way. What this is about is that alcohol is and has always been the first thing I run to when I'm afraid to engage in life. It doesn't matter that it only amounts to between 10-15 drinks a week- it's a major problem and it's destroying my life. 

 

In the past, I've made successful changes in my life when a confluence of circumstances made them known, desirable and attainable. I think that this is one of those junctures. The need for change is known: last summer I felt exactly like this. It's desirable: I absolutely cannot live a life where months of my life emotionally disappear from my memory. It's attainable: my living circumstances have improved and I now have a small social circle to engage with.  The finish line for my final debt payoff (another excuse I use to avoid people because I have to "remain focused") is going to be around Halloween. I have enough baclofen to reach a switch before then and taper off afterwards. Between now and then, I'm not accepting alcohol as an excuse to compromise my quality of life when I know that there are bridges that need to be built and wounds that need to be healed. 

 

For the next 4 months, I'm going to update this thread to chronicle reaching the switch again with a fresh set of eyes. The first time around circumstances were so dire that baclofen was little more than a crutch to limp to higher ground, but I made it. This thread is not about escaping the catastrophe- it's about mustering the courage to run back towards it. 

 

 

 

 

 

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As Mom says Fred, good to see again, despite the shitty circumstances. Best of luck fellow.

 

2 years is a good run though, take heart. I'm about a year in of no baclofen, and it's holding, can't see it lasting forever though.

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Hi, Fred and welcome to EOMA. 

Like many of your posts (particularly in the last couple of years) I can really relate to what you're saying. Unlike you, however, I waited too long to start increasing baclofen and things got out of control again over the last year and a half. I agree with you about the fact that it isn't necessarily the actual drinking. It's everything that leads up to the drinking and then the drinking to escape just escalates the problems and fear that is already there.

What really resonates for me is, "I don't care." I feel that SO MUCH. Therapy, antidepressants, time and exercise (and more than a few people on here who held me accountable and made me see through my self-pitying bull shit) have helped and I'm on my way out of that "I don't care" cycle. It IS based on fear. And man, I'm tired of being scared of everything. That's the main thing baclofen did for me the last time, actually. It relieved that innate anxiety that caused the fear spiral. 

Good to see you here, and looking forward to more. 

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fredson

Thanks Ne, 

 

I've been one week at 12mg and already feel a little improvement. Thursday night I went out to dinner with a few people from yoga and had 2 beers, and last night (Friday) I sat by the fire with my landlord and had 3 beers. A similar triggering incident got me into the cozy drinking by the fire ritual last night- I'd put off eating the whole day and resolved to grill some kebabs with beer to ward off the hanger. 

 

When I finally did drink, I couldn't get nearly as far as I usually would have and ended up feeling it much harder this morning for what little was involved. 

Baclofen does make a nice tool to disrupt your rituals and prevent them from gaining steam. I also think that much of what is involved in avoiding alcohol is creating good rituals to take shelter under as opposed to bad ones. I don't think it's the buzz we're after so much as the sense of certainty that if you do this, then that will happen. Alcohol [destructively] provides that guarantee- it's just a matter of finding less destructive guarantees. 

 

In other news, I'm starting to go girl crazy which I don't want getting mixed up in my yoga studio in any way. Being single for 2 years really doesn't look or feel good, but it's a choice and I'm sticking by my reasoning: getting my act together for someone else is a guarantee that I'll slide back into my pit as soon as they're out of the picture. And I certainly don't want any good thing in my life that someone else is in a position to take away- God knows how many bad decisions I've made because of that before. 

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Sorry I didn't respond sooner, @fredson

I agree with you about creating good rituals. But I don't know about your statement that it's not the buzz we're after. I have been writing, and thinking, about the reasons I drink, not in general terms, but specifically. It's something that @Missykc suggested. She said that she wrote down the reasons she drank. I absolutely drink to escape. Not specifically for the buzz, but because it allows me not to think about the 'thing' (whatever it happens to be that day or in that moment). For me, it's totally escapism from fear/anxiety/stress. I think we're in two different places with booze, but I know you've done a lot of work, getting yourself in shape, getting involved in other things like volunteering, and didn't you even take guitar lessons or am I confusing you with someone else? 

Anyway, I had that going on for the first year or two after I found indifference, too. For me it was going back to school and really being present and involved with friends and family. But I let the good habits dwindle and the bad habits (and anxiety) pile up...

Totally agree with you about doing it for yourself, getting and staying well, before starting a relationship. That said, being lonely is a definite trigger for me. I often feel 'lonely' even though I'm married. It's just a different kind of lonely... Missing friends and activities outside of my home, which is where I've been hibernating for the last couple of years. Can you date and move slowly? I never could. I was an all or nothing kinda chick. Totally in love, or ambivalent and just going through the motions. (I avoided being single at all costs, and dated people I wasn't all that interested in, just so I didn't have to be alone. Very effed up, now that I look back on it.) 

So how're things going now? 

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Hi Ne, 

 

Pretty anticlimactic turn of events, I stopped taking bac at a little under 20 mg. It definitely took the wind out of my drinking sails, but on the other hand it made me extremely depressed, lethargic and apathetic. Alcohol is bad, but it's in and out of your body and only gets to you if its an everyday thing. Anything taken on a daily basis becomes a permanent fixture, and I could not accept having my edge taken off. It actually reminded me of being on abilify and having to make myself try really hard to care about anything. 

It's been out of my system for two days and I've definitely got my edge back today. Something strange is that I remember being really depressed this time last year around August-September when I tried going back on baclofen again because of summer drinking outdoors.  

As for relationships, I am not capable of being casual about it. There's a really specific personality type I click with and when I find someone like that it usually gets serious pretty quickly and mutually. The downside is that I make compromises that I shouldn't be making- but at least I'm not afraid to back out anymore. The real problem is wanting to put myself out there- I feel completely jaded and emotionally numb from breaches of trust that have happened. 

 

I don't know if I'm going to update this thread anymore, as a switch dose is not going to ever happen given how much I hated the small one. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Felt like posting an update- I got 14 AF days until last night which has never been pulled off since High School (the previous record was about 10 days). 

Not drinking during the week isn't hard at all anymore, but the loneliness setting in on Friday night always gets me. I remember walking into Whal Mart prepared to buy stuff to have a fire and get trashed all evening a couple Fridays ago, but put the stuff back and walked out knowing full well how pathetic and miserable that is when I could be riding my bike instead. 2 weeks was effortless to go without drinking having that mindset.

 

What broke it (and I didn't really intend to take it further anyway) was being at my parents' house yesterday. My mom is disabled and addicted to benzos (recently switched to klonapin from xanax because of withdrawal seizures between doses), and between her disability and worsening personally she's extremely distressing to be around. She vents a repetitive and relentless stream of gripes about other people ALL DAY and you can't help but think what she's saying about you when your back is turned. Between being willing to spew garbage and being ignorant of social media etiquette, Facebook has been a very dangerous tool in her hands, and it's probably the main reason I've stayed off. (To give you an idea, last year she carried on a conversation with one of my sister's friends on his public wall dissecting and trashing her ex-boyfriend.)

I visit mainly to keep her company, but in the afternoon I found myself craving beer because being stuck in the house with her felt claustrophobic. I ended up drinking about 7 Coronas (can't take IPA's anymore, think my inner beer snob died), and it kicked my ass to the point of looking forward to 14 or more AF days. 

 

 

 

 

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That's great that you had 14 AF days, Fredson! 

Really sorry about your mom, and about the stress it causes you when you 'do the right thing' and visit her. 

Facebook sucks on so many levels and for so many reasons, I don't think anyone needs an excuse to avoid it! But I don't want to be a total hypocrite--I check it and contact friends and very occasionally post something. (Like we watched Bob Ross on Netflix and I couldn't believe how enthralled we were. We watched the whole 25 minutes. I remember watching it with my grandfather and hating it. The guy is a bushy, Jesus-loving hippy. HA! But he's got this soft, smooth voice and he's so sweet. Plus, even thought the paintings themselves are really kitschy, it's cool to watch the development. Okay, not sure why I went on this tangent. Anyway.) I've pretty much decided to avoid it as much as possible until we vote in a new president. I can't take the propaganda perpetuated, on both sides. I mean, my friends mostly feel the same as I do, so they're preaching to the choir. And the friends that have very differing opinions post almost the exact same rhetoric from the opposite side, (Trump is dishonest, Hillary is dishonest, etc...) And it's not like FB EVER changed anyone's mind. Again, not sure why I had to write an entire paragraph about this. *sigh*

So back to the point, and your experience, I hear you about your mom. Anyone in active addiction is hard to be around. My parents struggle to stay abstinent, or drink less, in general, but particularly when I visit. They didn't used to, though, and it was kind of heartbreaking when they would get drunk and not know it. Silly arguments or repeated conversations about the same things, all forgotten by the next morning. Really unpleasant. 

Glad she's on Ativan instead of Xanax (which my pDoc prescribes frequently, but calls it the 'crack' of benzos). It's a shame her doctor isn't being proactive about her benzo addiction. 

12 hours ago, fredson said:

(can't take IPA's anymore, think my inner beer snob died),

HAHAHA! I have had the exact opposite experience. The less I drink, the better the booze has to be. Which is $$$! When I reached indifference the last time, and wasn't drinking at all, I replaced expensive booze with expensive coffee. When I was drinking alcoholically, I'm embarrassed to admit that I drank $3-buck-Chuck from Trader Joes, or Corona. After indifference that changed to expensive Cabernets and dark European beer!

Sorry about the hangover, but they do remind us how much it sucks to be in the throes of active alcoholism. Not that it works to dissuade me if I'm really craving. It's a reminder that I'm not where I want to be, though, when I feel that overwhelmed. 

Are you still doing all of your extracurricular things? Guitar lessons, cat volunteering, yoga and something else, right? And paying off your debt. Definitely inspiring, Fred.

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On August 2, 2016 at 9:47 PM, Mom2JTx3 said:

@fredson. Maybe you should look into Naltrexone and the Sinclair method?

There's something I read about that which really scares me as far as long term effects are concerned.I forget where I read this, but if someone takes Nal long term and stops taking it then they become hyper-sensitized to being addicted to anything thereafter. I'm just wary of any kind of substance anymore because alcohol and caffeine are bad enough already. I also seriously think that being on Abilify so long has lowered my psychotic threshold- if I have too much caffeine or am hung over the intense withdrawal horror can come back momentarily. It's nothing that isn't manageable, but definitely scary. 

Things are generally on an upswing though. There's a girl I chat with in my yoga class and she becomes a total space cadet when I talk to her, so I think she likes me. I'm going to show her some katzen at my volunteer place sometime. Something I've sworn off of for the time being is online dating- it's just way too easy for someone to lie to you or omit deal breaking information when you only see them in a way they have a lot of control over. 

That loan will be paid off by October as originally planned- I ended up saying fuck it and bought a guitar I didn't really need as retail therapy kinda like women do with shoes. 

 

 

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I haven't read anything about Nal and those kind of long term effects. But you're taking bac, right? 

Glad things are looking up. I hope you got a chance to flirt with, and maybe go out with, the yoga chick. 

Sometimes retail therapy is what's called for! Great job about being debt free. That's my goal over the next 3-5 years. I can't believe it's going to take us that long to get out of it! Very frustrating...

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