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The End of my Addiction

TerryK celebrates 7 years of sobriety and indifference to alcohol thanks to baclofen


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7 years for me today, and it's still pretty smooth sailing...

Since my last update, I've finally got a hold of some decent health insurance, and I was lucky enough to find a GP that would prescribe me 160mg of Baclofen a day. He was reluctant and then dismissive at first, but came around after reading the studies and info that I had printed out for him (basically everything I've put in the Baclofen research section at TheEndofMyAddiction.org). I only asked for 160/day because that is what I was taking at the time, and I didn't want to push my luck. My bloodwork, as it has been for the past seven years, is perfect, a far cry from when I was suffering from hypertension and gout with an AST of 60+, ALT of 90+, and a GGT of 150+.

In my continuing effort to only use the smallest dose of Baclofen needed to be effective, I've titrated down to 120mg/day for the past 8 months. At that level, I experience no cravings, but admittedly, and as I have reported before, the few beers I have on occasion do not taste as repulsive as they do at higher levels of Baclofen.

No reason to worry, however, over the years I've grown fond of waking up clearheaded and hangover-free (Who knew ?) and I've learned to channel my energy in directions other than at the bottom of a bottle...like scuba diving! - a life-long dream of mine that was impossible for my former self. Now I go as much as I can; at home, on vacation, whenever I get the chance. You don't have to know much about the sport to understand that there is zero room for alcohol while being at depth underwater (or the night before, or even days before). Now with booze far away from the focus of my day to day, that's never a problem for me.


From Last year, 9/26/16:

Here I am, six years later, still cured of my alcoholism. Still sharp. Still sane. Sober, but not abstinent - I still have a few beers now and again - at a level well below the World Health Organization standards of safe drinking (<4 a day, <14 a week), and less than what could be considered "moderating."  I do not believe that baclofen is a path to moderate drinking, and I will go further to say that the more distance that you can put between yourself and the bottle, the better that baclofen can work for you. I'm currently at 180mg/day - after about 10 months @ 160,  while I had no cravings (or drunk dreams like I had when I first dipped below 200mg/say), I felt like I might be teetering on the edge of indifference, so I jumped back up 20mg, which seems to do the trick. I was pretty surprised to find that I experienced almost the same severity of side effects (I jumped up the 20 overnight) that I had during my initial titration. Fine the first day, but on the second afternoon: somnolence, queasiness, shocks to the hands, visual disturbances etc. No fun at all - I guess I am just really sensitive to the medication. Anyway, you can read about the rest of my story here:

From My anniversaries from the past on MWO:

 2 years ago, 9/26/15:

5 years for me today....doesn't really seem like a big deal - I don't count days and it doesn't take any effort - but that's not to say that the trip to get here wasn't a rough one - I had severe side-effects and a difficult seven month long titration (see below). 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.

I don't post here (MWO) much anymore for the same reason that many people are talking about leaving. I still pop in to offer evidence-based information when it's needed and to try and help people out of a jam when I can, but I no longer have the time or energy to combat the idiocy and abuse that's been dragging the Meds section down for the last 2.5 years - I've got much better things to do. I have a great life with a great person who stuck with me through this whole mess. I'm healthier than I've ever been, I've been lucky enough to get to travel and do outdoorsy stuff in a few far off (for me) places, and my job keeps me busier than I'd sometimes like to be. Now that I've cured my alcoholism, the vast majority of thoughts about alcohol that enter my head come from reading posts on this site (not that it's a problem). And as much as I like to be helpful and help people, I don't know that that can be accomplished here anymore, so maybe it's time to move on EDIT: I HAVE! THANKS EOMA!.

3 years ago, 9/26/14:

Still here. Still sober*. Still healthy, sane, and sharp. The only thing that has changed is my dose, down to 180mg/day (for about 10 months now) from 280mg/day on 9/26/10. Here's a shout out to friends old and new who've helped me along the way: Ne, Redhead77, bleep, serenity, Redthread12, StuckInLA, Dr. Levin, Cinders, craving, ZenStyle, Tiptronic, beatle, Slippery Pete, Neophyte, and to Olivier and lo0p (wherever you are).

* I have a couple of beers every couple of weeks - but I haven't been drunk in over 1400 days (so the app on my phone tells me - I've never had the need to count the days)..

4 years ago, 9/26/13:

Today marks 3 years since I found indifference to alcohol with high-dose baclofen.

My dose has been stable at 200mg/day for the pretty much the past two years. At this level I experience no cravings and zero side-effects.

I'm still here and I'm happy, healthy, sane, and sober.

As I've done for the duration of my indifference, I have a beer or two occasionally - every few weeks (maybe even a couple of days in a row around the year-end holidays). During those instances, I experience no pleasurable effects or further desire to get drunk (or ability to drink to excess even if I try and "test" myself), nor any cravings returning the next day. I'm not condoning moderation, and I do not want to give anyone the impression that baclofen is a pathway to it.

I said "sober" because I haven't been drunk (literally or legally) in 3 years*. That might not fit your definition of sober, but that's the way I see it for me. And it's how I know that baclofen works. Alcohol is such a non-issue in my life: it's not on the radar - as a reward, or a threat. I have a hard time remembering how it fit so completely in my life before, and I'm continually amazed when I realize that I've gone on with my life for days (or weeks) and not even remembered to think about it, let alone miss it. This isn't spontaneous remission - baclofen simply makes the booze not fit anymore.

* Shortly after finding indifference, I tested it with Ameisen's "drink a bottle of scotch and see if cravings return in the morning" - I passed/they didn't/obviously I was ostensibly drunk here (though it didn't feel like it).

I find that 200-220mg/day is my magic number - any lower and I start having "drunk dreams," though no real cravings and even at that lower dosage I find drinking completely unenjoyable. But the mental game is no fun and I'd rather this whole business be effortless, which lucky for me it is at the proper dosage. In the interest of taking the smallest dose that remains effective, and hoping that my (alcohol damaged) brain may be healing, I will continually attempt to reduce my dose in the future.

I can titrate down comfortably ~10mg/week. Any faster than that and I experience some anxiety and depression. Much faster than that (like when I dropped 40mg in 2 weeks) and I invite panic attacks towards the end of week 2.

It's been a tough year with the passing of Olivier Ameisen and the licensing action against Dr. Levin. I feel as though I owe both men for saving my life: Ameisen through his original discovery and the few emails I shared with him, and Levin for returning my calls from the hospital I was admitted to for overdosing on baclofen with guidance that eventually enabled me to find indifference.

Thanks for reading and thanks to the usual suspects who helped me along the way. I'm always around and I'll certainly be here in another 365 to tell you how year 4 went.

5 years ago, (9/26/12): 

22 years ago - I started drinking in college.

16 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.

10 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.

6 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 (and then Sunday) 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.

4 years ago - My life was completely unraveling. I would wake up sometimes with a dry heaving, retching sickness that I could only stop with a couple of shots of 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, 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.

3 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.

2 years, 7 months ago - After reading "The End of My Addiction," I started self medicating with baclofen that I purchased online, soon after from a local psychiatrist.

2 years, 4 months ago - I was hospitalized while trying to titrate too quickly on baclofen. 150mg/day to 235+mg/day.I talk a little about it here

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

1 year ago- http://www.mywayout.org/community/fo...ks-to-baclofen

Today - Still cured of my alcoholism! Completely indifferent!

I've been high dose baclofen consistently for over 2 1/2 years, currently taking 200mg/day (I was at 280 for about 6 months, then dropped to 220, was at 240 for more than a year, and then recently dropped to 200).

Though I had severe side-effects throughout my titration (even continuing for a few months after my switch) I am 100% side-effect free today.

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 2 years (BAC or otherwise), as it is, baclofen makes drinking more than a couple pretty unpleasant for me.

I'm happy, healthy, sane, and as sharp as ever.

6 years ago, (9/26/11):

It's been 365 days since I reached my "switch," indifference to alcohol at 280mg/day baclofen. I'll try and keep this short and sweet....

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 profoundly poor fit for me as well (to put it mildly). I did try Moderation Management online, and had no luck finding Rational Recovery.

I heard about, then read Ameisen's book in early 2010. I stumbled upon MWO soon after. I began titrating in March 2010 with Fexobac baclofen ordered online from India, 4rx.com. I was also 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 (recounted here). 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.

I am very happy to report that today I am indifferent *and* side-effect free on high-dose baclofen (currently 220mg/day). I have been taking baclofen continuously for 19 months.

My simple answer to overcoming side-effects is 1)slow, consistent 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 ).

I've had a beer or 2 (or 3) a few times and that probably doesn't fit many people's definition of sobriety, but I know that baclofen has cured my alcohol addiction. I don't think about drinking, I don't remember about drinking, when I try and make a plan to drink a beer to enjoy the taste of it, I always forget it. I don't like to have more than 1 or 2, I don't like the feeling (it doesn't get me buzzed or drunk anymore) and I don't like how I feel in the morning. I don't have any of the cravings that made me feel like every night I was missing out because I couldn't drink a beer. I don't know if it will last forever, and maybe it's a slippery slope, but that's the way it is, and I feel confident, sane, and sharp as ever. Thank you Dr. Olivier Ameisen for making this journey possible, and Dr. Levin, Ne/Neva Eva, RedHead77, Lo0p, Cinders, craving, ZenStyle, beatle, ignominious, XXXXX, bleep, _serenity_, moglor, guardian, birdy02, Otter, and anyone I've left out, for helping me along the way.


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