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The End of my Addiction

Turning the Page


fredson
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The last time I really gave any kind of update on how things were going was back in July when I had a depression/drinking scare. In that post I made a grand scheme to be regain indifference, be debt free by Halloween and get my social life going again. 

Three things happened between then and now:

1. I stopped taking baclofen three days in from the side effects and the dulling of my senses. Time and again I want to make my drinking a scapegoat for any problem I'm having at the time, but for the long haul I've never excessively used alcohol more than once every couple weeks and have never consumed alcohol every day of the week for over 3 years now. I definitely have problems, but alcohol is not it. 

2. I did pay off my debt on October 14th. Let me rephrase that- I used substantial amounts of income to pay off installment debt with a high monthly payment and ran up a 4 figure credit card balance reasoning that once the $550 monthly payment disappeared, the CC balance would resolve in a month or two. If you follow Dave Ramsey, he is absolutely against schemes like this because they leave you vulnerable to life events such as....

3. I got laid off from work on October 28th. There were telltale signs that entire week- my manager was flying all over the country to various locations to reorganize our department, no new work was being assigned, and the work I was assigned I was told not to work on but to oversee administratively because the people we're taking into our new organization should have been doing it locally rather than having me do it remotely. The office was eerily quiet that entire week like the day after Christmas where almost everyone is gone and anyone who is there is goofing off. The resource manager who broke the news said that they would try to fit me back elsewhere in the company asap, and my manager personally emailed me to apologize for it having turned out like this. 

 

I can already tell that the money situation, the job situation and having too much free time on my hands is a perfect storm for something terrible to happen, and not necessarily with alcohol. Even though I can collect UC, it gives me exactly enough to break even without making headway on the credit card balance. The timeframe for being called back to work is indefinite, and I have a sincere worry that word has gotten around in recruiting circles about the massive blowout at the job I had 3 years ago which may haunt me if I look elsewhere. 

In the grand scheme of things, I should count my blessings that this is nowhere close to the mess I was in when I first came to MWO 4 years ago (reliant on my parents for money, quit my job before I could get fired, drinking at 10 am, heavily medicated, no shred of dignity or self respect whatsoever). But still, getting debt free was a turning point that I had been looking forward to for a long time and now keeping life on hold is something that's forcibly imposed on me rather than a choice I'm making. 

 

Fortunately, I still have cats, yoga, gym and music to look forward to, but I'm seeing them less as meaningful activities and more as distractions from life. That realization has become somewhat amplified in the past week, if I'm not committed for an activity later in the day I end up languishing and accomplishing nothing.

 

Tomorrow I've got to dust off and move forward, because if one thing has become clear I cannot be under challenged for my own safety. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Geez, @fredson. Times like these are when one needs a drink at 10am the most. I shouldn't crack jokes. So sorry to read about what's been going on. Debt is such a crushing fuckwit of a thing to deal with. It just hangs over everything. No reason to tell you about it, you know. I'm just sorry. Hope you are rehired or find another job soon, man. 

Music is not a bad distraction, at all. If you were watching hours and hours of TV, like I have been the past week, I'd worry. But escaping into something beautiful, that's a good thing.

All my best.

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5 hours ago, Felina said:

So sorry to hear that, @fredson. But it sounds like you have a good perspective on it. The CC debt will get taken care of once you find something. You'll land on your feet.

Cats always land on their feet.

Just making a joke. But you will be just fine, Fred. I feel for you, my friend.

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Oh, Fredson, so sorry. What a difficult time! Can you give yourself any breathing room to keep the stress of the situation at bay? I mean, the hobbies you have are not only fulfilling, they're life-affirming, too. And they all lend themselves to being a healthy and happy person. So why would you disparage what you're doing? 

I don't think of my drinking as the problem, exactly. It's more that it's a symptom of the problem. My brain chemistry is screwed up, and I drink to alleviate... stress, boredom... the fundamental chemical dysfunction. And baclofen (presumably) treats that chemical imbalance. So while you may not be drinking, that doesn't mean you're not... chemically imbalanced. Again, everything you're doing, with animals and exercise and hobbies that are mind-stimulating and productive, are good for your brain, too. Why make them out to be bad? 

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1 hour ago, Ne1 said:

Oh, Fredson, so sorry. What a difficult time! Can you give yourself any breathing room to keep the stress of the situation at bay? I mean, the hobbies you have are not only fulfilling, they're life-affirming, too. And they all lend themselves to being a healthy and happy person. So why would you disparage what you're doing? 

I don't think of my drinking as the problem, exactly. It's more that it's a symptom of the problem. My brain chemistry is screwed up, and I drink to alleviate... stress, boredom... the fundamental chemical dysfunction. And baclofen (presumably) treats that chemical imbalance. So while you may not be drinking, that doesn't mean you're not... chemically imbalanced. Again, everything you're doing, with animals and exercise and hobbies that are mind-stimulating and productive, are good for your brain, too. Why make them out to be bad? 

 

I know what's going on- and it's not a chemical imbalance. The problem now is that I don't feel complete unless I'm in a relationship and have a second half to complete my life. Whenever I'm with someone, everyone says that I look much better and act like myself again. That sounds like a simple answer, but it's a huge problem because when I do find someone I click with, I unwisely overlook deal breakers like dishonesty which creates a mess for me to clean up later on that they've carefully avoided being on the hook for. 

 

This exact scenario has played out twice- and the second time it scared me badly enough to draw the line and focus on bettering myself to not become an scapegoat for someone's displaced rage against her father or shitty childhood. Having undone the damage that a person like that will inflict on your life without thinking it's a big deal, I feel prepared to stand on my own two feet, say NO early and often and show troublemakers the door. 

 

It just sucks that this had to happen right as I was about to put my toes back in those waters, but it's a temporary setback. I know I'll be better off in the long run. 

 

And Ne, 

Belief in chemical imbalances was what originally turned me on to bac and got me over drinking too much, but it's become such a nebulous and widely abused concept that I avoid it altogether for anything else. Until the term chemical imbalance is defined by what chemical, how much of that chemical is imbalanced and what the underlying mechanism of the imbalance is, you might as well be drowning your sorrows with Brando because "It's got Electrolytes"! 

 

I'm saying this because I can already see baclofen being undermined by people trying to make it out to be inherently meaningful in itself and not as a tool with limitations and drawbacks. When people on forums like this try to define everything in terms of a chemical imbalance, it downplays the behavioral dimension and makes the medications that actually work look like the nootropics and supplements people take as an identity statement trying to look clever and sophisticated. And people forging identities around medications is a revolting hellhole that I pray baclofen doesn't get mixed up in...ever been on crazymeds.com? The message board signatures on there list diagnoses and medications in a resume format like it's some kind of accomplishment. You have to wonder if they're on there to actually get better or as a recreational endeavor. 

 

I really don't want to see baclofen's credibility get destroyed, but that's the direction that overgeneralizing everything as a chemical imbalance will lead. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I've always appreciated it when women have displaced their daddy-issue rage on me. :)

@fredson, please, I say this as a friend: the one thing we don't do here is overgeneralize. Baclofen may or may not be the answer. It is a tool that WILL make a person stop drinking. But there are so many other things going on that, well, who knows. 

I've experienced it. I stopped drinking. Against my own wishes. I went to a bar and forgot to pick up my drink. Doesn't mean I wasn't still miserable, or hating my life. 

I don't think anyone here says baclofen is the magic bullet for life. It's the magic bullet for alcohol. But that's it. You'd have to be superman to find a cure for all the rest of it, like @terryk. :)

 

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13 hours ago, fredson said:

The problem now is that I don't feel complete unless I'm in a relationship and have a second half to complete my life.

Could that not be seen as a chemical imbalace?  Sex hormones & all that?  Endorphins?

(Just trying to be controversial, I'm actually enjoying this discussion, keep it going)

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On 11/7/2016 at 1:29 PM, fredson said:

And Ne, 

Belief in chemical imbalances was what originally turned me on to bac and got me over drinking too much, but it's become such a nebulous and widely abused concept that I avoid it altogether for anything else. Until the term chemical imbalance is defined by what chemical, how much of that chemical is imbalanced and what the underlying mechanism of the imbalance is, you might as well be drowning your sorrows with Brando because "It's got Electrolytes"! 

I hear you and understand what you're saying. Identifying the chemicals or even the mechanism of action is no more important, imho, than identifying the "causes" of my alcoholism. 

That's what I see and fear happening with baclofen and other meds, too. People feel they have to know the why of it in order to "believe" it works. We don't know how they work, or why, but they do. Isn't the outcome what matters? Shouldn't we be talking, as Stuck pointed out, about results? And yes, everything causes chemistry changes in the brain. Some of them, like the ones you've chosen as pursuits and hobbies, are incredibly good for the brain. We know this. Right? I mean, you care for neglected cats, for goodness sakes. If that isn't a feel-good and do-good pursuit, I can't think of one. Music and exercise, of course, too. Doesn't mean that those things, in and of themselves, are going to make you well. You might need medication, too. I did and do. 

It reminds me of an ongoing argument, I mean discussion, I used to have with Cassander. He is adamantly pro-exercise as a treatment for alcoholism. But I was at my most fit when I was at my most desperate and went looking for solutions and found out about baclofen. Not only that, my father owned a chain of health clubs when I was growing up and I was VERY active as a young teenager, right about the time when I was becoming addicted to alcohol. Exercise, the endorphins, alone, weren't enough to keep me from becoming or staying drunk. 

And then it all becomes a circle of...discussion...about what matters where and why and for whom. That's one of the reasons for this forum! It's not up to me, or you, or heaven forbid, a troll, to make those decisions for someone else. For me, it's complex chemistry and a bit of magic. For you, it may be something else. That said, if you're doing all of these positive things, and still feeling desperate, then, well, thinking about things differently might help. So that's why I suggested what I did. Not to dismiss your concerns, but to suggest they might not be the thing to focus on. 

I remember your posts about your last relationship. It was a whirlwind, for sure. I can't really speak to being contentedly alone, as I've never done it. Like you, I suppose, I always needed someone to be with. I kind of regret that now, even though I am (mostly) happily married. I have a good friend who is single after being married a long time and her goal is a relationship. She's in one now and I'm not sure she's happy with her SO, but she's happy to be in a relationship. I guess what I'm suggesting is that you have a WHOLE lot of things you're dealing with right now. Would it even be the right time to look for a partner? Is that really what it takes to have a full life? (I mean, as I said, I'm not one to suggest otherwise since I've never done it. I'm a serial dater, and wasn't very monogamous back in the day. I know you've been single a while, so not really the same.) 

Also, Dave Ramsey slays me. I followed along and drooled over his "so-simple" steps to financial freedom rather than financial insecurity and didn't do any of it. In 2011, when I got sober, we were debt-free. Much to my chagrin, 2 years of depression and drinking and we now have a significant financial liability. ugh. It's one of the things that most overwhelms me and freaks me out. I still can't believe the decisions I've made about that. So, so stressful for me. 

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On 11/8/2016 at 1:25 PM, Ne1 said:

 It reminds me of an ongoing argument, I mean discussion, I used to have with Cassander. He is adamantly pro-exercise as a treatment for alcoholism. But I was at my most fit when I was at my most desperate and went looking for solutions and found out about baclofen. Not only that, my father owned a chain of health clubs when I was growing up and I was VERY active as a young teenager, right about the time when I was becoming addicted to alcohol. Exercise, the endorphins, alone, weren't enough to keep me from becoming or staying drunk. 

And then it all becomes a circle of...discussion...about what matters where and why and for whom. That's one of the reasons for this forum! It's not up to me, or you, or heaven forbid, a troll, to make those decisions for someone else. For me, it's complex chemistry and a bit of magic. For you, it may be something else. That said, if you're doing all of these positive things, and still feeling desperate, then, well, thinking about things differently might help. So that's why I suggested what I did. Not to dismiss your concerns, but to suggest they might not be the thing to focus on. 

 

 

Hi Ne

Checking in to confirm that, yes, eight years now into it, I'm still an absolute believer in exercise to reduce anxiety and avoid or reduce the need to resort to alcohol. I don't know whether its the endorphins or some other pathway, but it absolutely works for me. I might add that, like baclofen, the 'exercise' solution didn't work overnight. I had been running and going to the gym for some time (originally to lose weight), maybe a couple of years, when the anxiolytic benefits fully took hold. I would recommend to any and all: Keep on keepin' on.

Over the years my search for relief from anxiety has caused me to try many solutions, in addition to, first, alcohol, and later, exercise. I have come to believe the solution is more 'holistic', if you will.

Here's a good summary of the holistic approach. Seems simple, but not necessarily so if alcohol is one's chosen solution. http://www.8waystowellbeing.com/

Cheers,

Cassander

 

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On 11/8/2016 at 3:25 PM, Ne1 said:

...I mean, you care for neglected cats, for goodness sakes. If that isn't a feel-good and do-good pursuit, I can't think of one. Music and exercise, of course, too. Doesn't mean that those things, in and of themselves, are going to make you well. You might need medication, too. I did and do. 

...

...For me, it's complex chemistry and a bit of magic. For you, it may be something else. That said, if you're doing all of these positive things, and still feeling desperate, then, well, thinking about things differently might help. So that's why I suggested what I did. Not to dismiss your concerns, but to suggest they might not be the thing to focus on. 

 

9 hours ago, Cassander said:

Hi Ne

Checking in to confirm that, yes, eight years now into it, I'm still an absolute believer in exercise to reduce anxiety and avoid or reduce the need to resort to alcohol. I don't know whether its the endorphins or some other pathway, but it absolutely works for me. I might add that, like baclofen, the 'exercise' solution didn't work overnight.

...http://www.8waystowellbeing.com/

Cheers,

Cassander

 

CASS! Great to see you. So glad my post pulled you out of the woodwork, even if I am a bit chagrined about the post itself and that part in particularly. Well, and the part where I was being a know-it-all about relationships. That probably wasn't very helpful for Fredson. 

But my point actually was supposed to be that the things that he is doing are profoundly positive. Yoga, giving cats in a shelter some love and attention, music and learning. It might not be enough, or the combination might not be right. Exercise alone wasn't enough for me, obviously. But I'm sorely missing that component this time around, and I'm sure that it's part of why it's been such a struggle to get and stay sober. Ditto meditation. I didn't start meditating until after I got sober, but it was helpful. 

Much as I eschew some of the holistic approaches, I know that they're part of a full life, even if they aren't solutions to alcoholism for some. I have to be dragged kicking and screaming to find a spiritual outlet, but am well rewarded when I do it. A lot like exercise, actually! I liked the fact that in the video explaining the 8 Ways the researcher pointed out that it's not necessarily ALL the things, some will be more important to us than others. Hope it gets funded. Looking forward to seeing it. 

Speaking of which, it's time to walk the dog. We are going to the park that centers around Edgar Cayce's energy vortex (or something) that is the reason he located his school and hospital near there. I don't necessarily believe the "energy vortex" but I know that walking down a dirt path surrounded by trees is good for me. So whatever. I'll take both, even if I don't understand the one. 

I could devote an entire thread to these things, but since I'm not a very good representative at the moment, I'll leave it be. But you could... just sayin' ;)

Glad your well, and again, great to see you here. 

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  • 2 months later...

Checking back in.

 

I'm now going on about 2.5 months unemployed and have given up hope of being called back to my old job. This opens an unfortunate can of worms I was looking to avoid, which is that I probably have a reputation among recruiters in my metro area as a flake and a job-hopper from my drinking days and it's impossible to spin my resume anymore to cover up that fact. Responses from recruiters are noticably fewer and farther between than a few years ago, and the terrifying prospect of having to relocate to escape my reputation is looming overhead. Even though things are better with me than they've ever been, the damage from the past has been done. 

 

My time off hasn't been wasted, but it's not been the quantum leap in self improvement I was hoping for either and I'm ready for it to be over. Some observations:

 

- With proper diet planning, it's possible to get through a month on about $70 worth of groceries. I'll get sick of it at some point but I'm surprised how well I got spending under control after New Years

- Collecting Unemployment is not fun, just as it was intended to be. Early on I limited my applications to lucrative positions I really thought were a good fit, but as time has gone on with no responses I'm throwing resumes at the wall to see if they will stick. What is particularly worrisome is being offered a nightmare of a job that's not apparent until the interview and not being able to turn it down. 

- Working part time while on UC is a nightmare and a liability, don't do it. I took a night stocking retail job after New Year's reasoning I could do it for a couple of months, not exceed the partial income credit allowed by the state and get some extra money, and also show potential interviewers I had a work ethic. In reality, your gross earnings are deducted from the partial income allowance and then directly against your UC benefit, and once both of them are taxed I was making about $100 a week working 32 hours. (This amount of money was easily saved by cutting my spending habits anyway) The nights wrecked my sleeping patterns, I almost fell off of a 20 ft ladder more than once, the team leads were slave drivers trying to beat time records to make themselves look good, and once my coworkers got wind that I didn't really need to be there I knew ire was headed my way at some point. For the one upside of a little extra money, there were about 5 downsides ranging from annoyance to debilitating injury, so I quit. 

- Paying a small premium to get out of the house is worth it. I was in a rut of going to Starbucks for a coffee and bagel each day while I studied for my certifications, and it was worth getting away from the claustrophobia and internet rabbitholes on my laptop being cooped up inside. I'll probably take this habit back up because it helps break the day up. 

 

As for what comes next, I'm working with an Outplacement service available to alumni of my university, and job coaching is part of that. Judging from the preliminary info I've filled out, I'll have to own up to the gaps on my resume head-on because evading or downplaying them is probably how I've gotten to the place I'm in and won't be an option anymore. Hopefully I can get some help on how to handle that and share it here. 

 

On a side note, I was wanting to do 30 days AF but slipped and had one beer on day 15. It actually messed up my mood and sleep much more than I thought it would, which has been a general trend of not being able to handle alcohol as well as I used to. I intend to continue on the rest of the month AF though.  

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4 hours ago, fredson said:

- Collecting Unemployment is not fun, just as it was intended to be. Early on I limited my applications to lucrative positions I really thought were a good fit, but as time has gone on with no responses I'm throwing resumes at the wall to see if they will stick. What is particularly worrisome is being offered a nightmare of a job that's not apparent until the interview and not being able to turn it down. 

- Working part time while on UC is a nightmare and a liability, don't do it. I took a night stocking retail job after New Year's reasoning I could do it for a couple of months, not exceed the partial income credit allowed by the state and get some extra money, and also show potential interviewers I had a work ethic. In reality, your gross earnings are deducted from the partial income allowance and then directly against your UC benefit, and once both of them are taxed I was making about $100 a week working 32 hours. (This amount of money was easily saved by cutting my spending habits anyway) The nights wrecked my sleeping patterns, I almost fell off of a 20 ft ladder more than once, the team leads were slave drivers trying to beat time records to make themselves look good, and once my coworkers got wind that I didn't really need to be there I knew ire was headed my way at some point. For the one upside of a little extra money, there were about 5 downsides ranging from annoyance to debilitating injury, so I quit. 

- Paying a small premium to get out of the house is worth it. I was in a rut of going to Starbucks for a coffee and bagel each day while I studied for my certifications, and it was worth getting away from the claustrophobia and internet rabbitholes on my laptop being cooped up inside. I'll probably take this habit back up because it helps break the day up. 

Sounds similar to the situation in the UK wrt trying to work while on benefits.  It will be interesting to see how Norway's new scheme works out - they are paying everyone a flat rate.  They reckon the savings on bureaucracy & paperwork will offset the expenditure & encourage people to work.

I'm sure the Outplacement service will help you with what to put on your resume.  @Jetsman32 on this site works in HR & has generously offered his advice to several people - maybe PM him?

Are you on bac?   Sorry my IT skills are so cr*p that once I've started to type I can't negotiate back through the thread to find earlier info, but I seem to remember you were a bac user on MWO?

Best of luck & keep posting.

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1 hour ago, Molly78 said:

Sounds similar to the situation in the UK wrt trying to work while on benefits.  It will be interesting to see how Norway's new scheme works out - they are paying everyone a flat rate.  They reckon the savings on bureaucracy & paperwork will offset the expenditure & encourage people to work.

I'm sure the Outplacement service will help you with what to put on your resume.  @Jetsman32 on this site works in HR & has generously offered his advice to several people - maybe PM him?

Are you on bac?   Sorry my IT skills are so cr*p that once I've started to type I can't negotiate back through the thread to find earlier info, but I seem to remember you were a bac user on MWO?

Best of luck & keep posting.

Molly, 

I was a BAC user on MWO from 2012-2014 and tapered off around the end of that year. I've taken bac sporadically for hangovers and as a sleep aid ever since but have never found the need (or the physical ability) to take it on a sustained basis again. 

Whether I was a full blown alike is up for debate because I only drank hard for 4 years and medications I was taking definitely made things worse, but I'm certain that baclofen arrested my drinking problem early on and bought me enough time to sort out other issues. Regardless, the pattern of behavior was definitely there and it was already making some deep inroads into destroying my life, so I credit taking bac 100% as the starting point for turning things around. 

 

 

 

 

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