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The End of my Addiction

Missykc's baclofen story from MWO


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I'm finally pulling my baclofen journey onto this site.  It's over 3 1/2 years since I started on bac.  It's been 10 months since I quit baclofen because of the SEs I had when I exercised in heat (tunnel vision, horrible fatigue, electrical shocks and an inability to hold onto things with my hands).  I am so happy that I treated my alcoholism with baclofen.

2/7/13  I'm in my 6th week of baclofen for over drinking. My dr has stopped me at 60 mg/day. I have sent an email to him asking if he'll allow me to increase to follow Dr A's protocol.
I have had a drink here and not so much there and I can truly say I have no craving or desire to drink. Yay! My first month on baclofen was so lovely. I sat in the sun and watched hawks and was enthralled with the world. Insights just flowed into my mind. Have others had this experience?
In month 2 this all went away and my compulsive thoughts have returned. Could this be because I have quit increasing my dose?

2/8/13  Thanks everyone for your welcome! My dr has allowed me to go up to 80 mgs in the next week and a half. I'm off work for 3 days so I'll go to 70 today.

xxxxx, you pose a wonderful question. I've thought for about 5 hours--do I want ease or to be alcohol free? My reason for starting baclofen was that I drank a bottle of wine a night and ruined love relationships (imagine that!!). Since my first week on baclofen I've not craved alcohol until this week when I started thinking about using it to escape how I felt.

Maybe my lovely first month experience lulled me. Plus I'm in kind of a lull and I don't like them. I used to always whip something exciting up to get out of them. Maybe I'm being a baby and just wanting something easy. Prior to baclofen I was so tough and out of touch was any gentle feelings I had. It's tough for me when shitty memories come up. Whatever it is I'm not giving up. I've got my big girl panties on!

I have read a ton about baclofen but it wasn't until this week that I found a few blogs. Again thank you to all of you for responding.

4/30/13  I have a couple of questions. I flipped my switch at 80 mgs after staying there for 6 weeks (My dr wouldn't let me go higher.). I titrated down slowly to 40 mgs and still had no desire for alc. Plus I lost that horrible lack of motivation I had at 80 mgs.

I started getting anxious in the mornings and started taking 40 mgs in the morning and 10-20 mgs at night. So, now I can't sleep on my back or I snore myself awake. I have that wicked fatigue in late afternoon.

This past weekend I bought my first lawn mower and I was so excited that I foolishly mowed my lawn in the middle of the day in the FL heat. I took plenty of breaks and drank tons of water. My lawn is a lot of sand and it was tough to get the front done. Then I got those electrical shocks in my hands and found it difficult to grip or hold things. Also I've started getting cramps in my legs and toes. I work in natural medicine so I use potassium, calcium magnesium and excellent quality vitamins.

I'm fit although I haven't done much since starting bac in Dec. Prior to bac I hiked 10-12 mile hikes in the Everglades, and I want to continue. I know there's no rhyme or reason to SEs, but I'd like to know it does get better.

5/4/13 Thanks xxx,

Yes, it's a pretty cool feeling. I used to get other sorts of things done, but it was always in an adrenaline fueled frenzy. It's nice to methodically do it and I have more $$ since I don't drink like a fool.

I agree that the fear of doing it is the worst part. The next time I go to Miami I'm thinking of taking a trapeze class just to get past some more fear.

bleep, I keep meaning to tell you that I'm going to show my son how to navigate the lawn mower on our sandy lawn and I won't mow it anymore. Plus I have held at a steady dose and taking the first dose a little later. So far so good. Thanks.





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I figured I'd break my story up a bit.  Here's more:

12/12/13  It's hard to believe that a year has gone by. Thanks to everyone here who helped me. Most of you know who you are. I'd probably be jumping up and down--oh, wait, that was when I was drinking--to announce this sober year. When I started bac I had imagined my life on the outside a year later--I have none of what I thought--out of debt, boyfriend, excess $$, but I have an internal terrain that I could not have imagined. I have confidence, self care, boundaries and the ability to speak up. Yay--baclofen worked for me!!

I've forgotten how great that felt!

3/6/14 my 15 month story

I've not posted my story here and xxx has asked that I do so. I am a 56 year old 130 pound woman. Here it is:

I was a junior in high school the first time I drank. I didn't like the taste but I got smashed. In college I over drank and smoked pot daily and did other drugs through my Bachelors and Masters degrees.

I got married at the end of my undergrad years and drank so much on weekends that I cheated on my husband. We got divorced after 9 months at my request. I got married 1 year later to a guy who smoked pot daily. I smoked with him and over drank when there was alcohol at gatherings. We divorced after 5 years because he found a woman who was more mature than me.

During all of my drinking I was loud, funny, or so I thought, and I wouldn't stop drinking. I was functional in that I got great grades--just short of 4.0 and I never missed a day of work.

After my divorce I moved to Key West with a boyfriend. I worked hard there as a pastry chef. The saying was, "You work hard. You play hard." I continued pot smoking and over drinking. I got sober in AA (over a year) and I don't remember why or when I started drinking again. I started a chapter of Rational Recovery. We didn't last long because AA people that didn't want us there came to meetings and hassled us. I couldn't speak up so we shut the group down.

I returned to the mainland and returned to school for 3 more years. I dated a guy in AA so I stopped drinking. I started drinking and he gave the ultimatum: him or alcohol. I chose alcohol. He and I have a 15 year old son.

Years later I got married because I was so sure I'd learned lots about relationships. In the beginning it was great. As time went on not so great. I drank too much. I drank at my office just to face going home. I stopped at friends' houses to drink before I got home. I drank a bottle of wine a night to cope with my life. I over drank at parties and gatherings. I was passive/aggressive.

In all my relationships I could never express myself. I wanted everyone to like me and I tried to take care of everyone. So I drank for relief. When I was drunk all the things I didn't or couldn't say came out with venom.

My marriage was emotionally sick on both our parts. At my insistence we went to marriage counseling. After 10 years of marriage we divorced.  I was sure when my son and I moved out that all would be well in my world. Hahaha! I sat on the lanai after my son went to bed and drank 1/2 to 1 bottle of wine a night. I was still functional.

And I was stuck. After a year I tried a few more relationships and I worked all of my drinking around my communication with these men. I wanted a guy who wouldn't mind me partying but I didn't want to date a drunk!  

I was in a phone/text/email relationship with a guy who said he was moving to my town. I was so nice, understanding and pleasing, but I had many questions that I didn't have the nerve to ask. One night I got drunk, we talked and all my questions, concerns and snarky comments spewed out. I was devastated because I'd ruined another relationship.

I read lots and during this time I'd picked up Dr. Ameisen's book at the library. I thought it might pertain to some people I work with. I didn't think about it for me.

After my drunken phone call a light went on. I decided to stop my madness with alcohol. I asked a friend what doctor to call. I made an appointment for a baclofen prescription for alcohol abuse. I was a freaking mess. I'd really not been honest with anyone about my drinking-- maybe in AA. I can't remember.

My dr scripted 30 mgs/day and said I could go to 50 mgs/day. My titration was slow because of my dr. He finally let me go to 80 mgs/day and the following month wanted me to titrate off bac. Dr L treated me after that. I also used liquid bac. I was lucky to hit my switch at 80 mgs. I maintain at 60- 70 mgs/day. I titrated down to 40 mgs/day and anxiety set in so I went up. I take 10 extra mgs if I'm in a stressful situation.

When I started bac I wanted to stop my nightly drinking alone and I wanted to be able to have drinks with friends. I didn't bring alcohol into my home. I did have 1-3 drinks with friends here and there. When I drank 3 drinks I had to nap and I had daymares. So I stuck to 1-2 drinks.

My SEs were that my sleep was horrible--up late, up early. I accepted it and mostly moved on. I had low level nausea and lost 15 pounds. Food did not interest for awhile and I had to eat to fuel my body. I also slowed down and saw the beauty in all the nature around me. I had tremendous insights into me and into others' behaviors.

Only once in the first 4 months did I forcefully fight off a desire to drink alone.

As my months on bac increased I went through many SEs: I cleaned my house and took pride in it, I got very unmotivated, I couldn't hike the distances I used to in hot temperatures, my organs hurt, my neck hurt. Mostly I came to gently understand who I was. I didn't know I had anxiety until I started on bac. I didn't know I was compulsive until I took bac. I started to stand up for myself, to respect myself, to love myself. I saw people for who they were and quit taking things so personally. I emotionally moved away from people who drained me or used me. I mind my business. I mind my money and for the first time in my life I have more than enough money. Work is full tilt crazy and I'm taking care of myself while working insane hours. I'm better at my work.



Edited by Missykc
forgot to copy the rest
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More.  Someone asked how I quit drinking:

6/20/14  Hi xxx,

I didn't quit drinking. I quit over drinking, drinking alone and drinking to escape the world and how I felt and I did it with baclofen.

When I started baclofen it was around Christmas and I did have 1-3 drinks every so often with friends. When I had 3 I fell asleep. Also from the start alcohol really didn't seem to have any effect on me. Maybe because I didn't drink enough? Maybe the bac? Someone else on here has had the same effect.

There was only one night where I desparately wanted to drink alone and I just wrote and wrote in my journal. I didn't drink and I gained confidence and self respect that night.

Looking back over the last 17 months I'm amazed at my baclofen journey. It's easy for me to forget the side effects I had. There were plenty but they were doable. When I started I hated my behavior when I drank and that's what I wanted to change. It's changed and my life is better than what I'd imagined when I started baclofen.

9/13/14 I thought it was a good time to give an update. Tomorrow is 1 year and 9 months since I started bac. What a difference.

When I started bac I was tired of my behavior when I was drinking and, although I didn't realize it, I was tired of my behavior when I wasn't. When I was drinking I drank before parties, gatherings or banquets. It was just something I did. I didn't think I was anxious. I was always thinking how to get more to drink without others knowing. When I wasn't drinking I was stuffing my anger and irritation and it would come out when I did drink. It was a habit for me to feel like a victim.

Baclofen worked for me from the start. I relaxed, I had insights, I came to like myself and to stick up for myself. I had a lot of the usual SEs. Recently I posted on another thread that the heat was beating me down when I ran and I wanted to taper off bac. I got down to 20 was anxious and decided to go back to 30 mgs a day.

My choice with bac was to drink occasionally. After a year or so I went through a short phase where I was buying wine and having a glass or 2 a night. I thought about it and reasoned that I wasn't acting like I used to and that was acceptable and good. But I was running and had/have a plan to run long distances so I quit buying wine like I was. I feel great running with a schedule and a plan.

It's funny. I used to make a lot of grand plans and tell people and then back down. I started that this time with running. I had the idea to do an intense race with Racing the Planet (4 Deserts Official Website). I was almost in and then I realized that I wasn't even sure that I liked trail running. So I'm taking logical steps to see if a race in 2016 may be appropriate. When I over drank I'd never have thought rationally about it.

My finances have been amazing. I'm self employed and I work with people and their pains--physical and emotional. I became better at my job, better at listening. For the first summer in 19 years of business I didn't fret about $$. My work has been seasonal until this year. I'm so stoked to have $$ in the bank. I find that I'm not so impulsive about purchases--I think Ne mentioned this recently. I think off and on for a month or so before I make a major purchase.

I got sick in July. I thought it was a brown recluse spider bite on my upper back. It wasn't. It was a staph infection, mrsa. I let it get bad before I went to the clinic--a big sign that I still don't have my self care totally in hand. After getting it lanced and expressed twice and 10 days on antibiotics and stuff I had to put in my nose I had a short respite before it reappeared in another spot. I went back to the clinic and underwent the same procedure. It hurt like a bitch and I was afraid I'd never get rid of it. I bought a bottle of wine, came home, told my son I was going to sit on the couch and drink the bottle for the pain. I did. I don't remember the tail end of the night and that cured me from thinking it'd be a good idea to do it again.

Amazing to me is that I bought affordable health care and haven't paid even $15 so far. When I was over drinking I had no desire to follow the law to get the insurance. I was willing to pay the fine on my taxes without even checking into the cost.

I don't crave alcohol. If I drink it's because I make a choice. Baclofen continues to work for me.


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Here's 1 that wasn't on my thread so it's out of order but important to me:

12/1/14 dun,

You prompt me to post. Almost 2 years into my baclofen voyage and I've experienced those nothing blahs. Or i have great moments that just appear and then i go back to blah. I used to drink to motivate and to be funny and outlandish. That ended with bac and I started staying at home a lot. I still see some friends but not much. Lately I've thought I need to step out more.

Before I quit getting numb or drunk I let people walk on me and hurt me. I never spoke up. I deal with people's issues all day at work so I don't want more in my spare time unless it's family or dear friends.

When I started bac my goal was to stop my passive/aggressive behavior of speaking up to people when I was powered with alcohol. A month or two ago I realized I'd stopped my behavior--of course I had. I don't communicate with anyone at night! So I figured it'd be ok to have 2 glasses of wine a night. All was well but the other day I realized I was buying close to the amount of wine I used to.

Friday afternoon I went to see a friend who has lots of relationship problems. Her guy was there too. Long story short: I don't care for him. I thought they were happy. They poured and poured wine never letting my glass get empty. I drank and drank. He left for a bit and she told me how unhappy she was. When he came back I had to leave. I drove home drunk and paranoid. I got everything done I was supposed to--even kayaked the next day but 3 days later I still feel disoriented.

I've been at 40 mgs for a year or more and I may go up.


10/30/15 It's been a long time since I've posted on my thread. So here's an update just a little over 2 months shy of 3 years on bac.

My experience now is that I logically make a choice where alcohol is concerned. I went through a phase about a month ago where I felt burnt out. Work's very busy, I was up extra early getting my son to cross country practice or meets 6 days a week and I was just off and anxious. I don't post much about it, but I was a smoker. When I hired a trainer in May I quit smoking because I couldn't see the sense in working so hard to train for a race and continue smoking.

I chew Nicorette gum. I started back smoking in July or August when I was rehabbing my leg injury. It was so easy to go buy a pack. I hate the smell of cigarettes and how I smell when I smoke. I started getting anxious around this time--maybe due to hiding smoking from my son and the people I work with or maybe from the nicotine. Bac didn't affect my anxiety a bit.

A few weeks ago I decided to stop smoking. There are days when smoking seems like a good idea but I want to be healthy and it's not hard to not buy a pack. This is how it is for me with alcohol. I saw 10 people at work one day this week. That's 10 hours of me listening to people and their issues. When I left work I thought of buying a bottle of vodka to make the day go away. It was a quick passing thought, a habit that raised its head. I knew that it wouldn't erase the day and that I'd feel horrible the next day. No craving involved--just the habit of wanting to escape the world. I went home and had dinner and went to bed early.

LIS, thanks for asking about my running. I think I'm about at the end of rehabbing on the elliptical, "running" in the Gulf with a flotation belt and walking. Rehab was difficult in that I had to slow down, drop back intensity and be patient. I feel different in a good way--more steady, softer, healthier. Today I was 75 minutes in the water. For me it's a lot of time to think of a lot. I started thinking of all the time I wasted drinking. It's really unbelievable the number of hours I spent drinking alone. I feel so good and I don't want to waste time like that anymore.

I got a doctor this week because I need a doctor to ok me for the race within 30 days of the race. He used to be my doctor but I was a new patient because I hadn't been to him in over 7 years. We talked about my bac use and how I'd had anxiety a month or so ago. He asked if I'd like to titrate down and off of bac. He knew of bac for alcoholism and was open to whatever I wanted to do. He wrote a script for .5 mg of Xanax/day. I am coming off bac and I'll see if I need the Xanax. I prefer to take nothing.


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Finally!  I'm up to date. 

Quick post. I've been off baclofen since 11/15 because I had bad SEs when I exercised outdoors in the heat. I've been sober that entire time. I notice that I'm a little more stressed than I was on baclofen but the trade off is ok. I've gotten into ultra running and, for the most part, I'm pleased with the races I've run and the people I've met.



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Thanks so much, Missy, for putting your story here. There's so much in it that I can relate to now that I might not have a couple of years ago, when you first started on baclofen. (Has it really been 3 years? It feels like yesterday when you joined MWO!) 

I think I initially had all those insights in 2011, when I was indifferent for the first time. This time around, I have been having them, too. But more slowly and with a lot more temper-tantrums in between, because it's hard to look at myself and my behavior objectively. (Not that one can ever be truly objective, but you know what I mean.) It's kind of amazing to me, but completely obvious in retrospect, that I stopped taking care of myself, started acting out and behaving in old patterns long before I started drinking dysfunctionally. Those things, including financial insecurity, which were totally gone when I was healthy and taking enough baclofen, led to depression and then the descent into true dysfunction in all aspects of my life. 

I admire the fact that you have built on what you started with baclofen and drinking only occasionally, to accomplishing really challenging and rewarding goals. 

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