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Overcoming alcoholism


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Hi, I am new to the site. I think talking about my problem will help me overcome it and because I am unwilling to join AA I thought this site might provide some support. I am young but I have been an alcoholic for a few years now. I come from a long line of depressed addicts. Both of my parents and many other family members fall into this category. I am afraid that if I don't do something now I will end up like my dad who is more severe than my mother. I think my problems all began with low self-esteem and then branched off into social anxiety and mild depression. From there I began to drink and do drugs as a teenager, it was social acceptable and I enjoyed it. I mainly smoked pot but I did try other drugs as I got older but did not use harder drugs often. I had no problem giving them up after I decided they were not fun anymore but the alcohol just kind of stuck around.

Now that I am older it has worsened. I find my self spending ridiculous amounts of money (that I can not afford) on alcohol. I am no longer a social drinker, now I get drunk every night even when I am alone. I am afraid that being drunk all the time is giving me a bad reputation and its making my social anxiety problem more difficult to deal with. The ironic thing is: I use alcohol as an icebreaker, but when I start drinking I can't stop and it turns me into someone I don't want to be and whom no one likes. The truth is, I don't really want to stop, I just want to be able to control my urge to drink.

I decide every Sunday night (before I have to go to work the next morning, I am functional) I tell myself that I am going to quit. I can usually make it to Tuesday, but rarely have I made it to Wednesday and most weeks I drink on Monday night. Today is Tuesday.

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You have options. Many options.

A few:

All on line:

SMART Recovery

SOS

LifeRing

Women for Sobriety

Hamshrn at Yahoo.

Design your own plan. Go to these places above; read about them; pick and choose as you will. All are full service: face to face meetings; message board; chat room; reading lists; tool box. Change your plan as needed. Choose what fits you. If the shoe does not fit -- do not wear it.

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Hi beautifully flawed, and you are welcome here.:) xenophon has given some interesting looking links. Have you thought about going into therapy? What does your support network look like? Is there anyone around you you can talk to? You will need support to get past this. Let us know how you are doing. Many people here can relate to having an addiction.

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Thanks for the encouragement. I have thought about therapy but I have decided against it for a few different reasons. What I am really looking for is an anonymous place to talk about my issues with out judgment. This site seems to be the perfect place for that. As for support, there really isn't anyone I can look to in my life. I have a professional job and cannot risk speaking to the co-workers I have made friends with about my problems because of the negative connotation it may have in my particular field. My old friends are the "there is no problem" kind of people. Not to make them sound apathetic but they really aren't very comfortable talking about anything emotional. As I said before, my parents are deeper in their addictions than I am. I do speak to my father about our addictions but it doesn't help because he is 3 sheets to the wind most of time. I am close to my younger sister but as she gets older and moves along into her own life separate from me I feel like it isn't fair to put her on the spot based on my own needs. She has enough to deal with right now (she has the same parents I do!).

I realize I need help getting through this, but I can only work with what I have now. I made it through last week with only 3 days drinking and that is a huge achievement for me. I am drinking today but I will try not to drink tomorrow. That's how I am taking it. I know that I will get there eventually.

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beautifully flawed -

That is a good way to go. It is easy to say, but the urge to drink can be successfully resisted. There is a safe limit for drinking. Three servings a day; 12 servings per week. I suggest replacing drinking alcohol with a different behavior. A behavior that cannot include alcohol.

You may want to look at HAMS or hmshrn at yahoo.

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Guest ASchwartz

Hi BeautifullyFlawed,

I agree that it is good that you found our site and that this is a good place for you to post and get lots of support. In addition to this, there is an observation I want to make and I hope you can elaborate. Here it is:

It seems to me that, other than coming to us (again, this is a really good place for you and you are welcome here) you have shut the door to any other kind of help out there in the world. You report that you will not go to therapy for some reason, you will not go to AA or any of the others that have been suggested for you and that you cannot speak to either new or old friends.

That leaves you with absolutely no options other than writing here. Writing here is good but it can only get you so far and no further because you need lots more help with your drinking and with the dysfunctional addicted family you come from.

You write that you spend "ridiculous amounts of money" on alcohol. What if you spent that money on psychotherapy instead?

Could you help us understand why outside help, in addition to us (and we are glad to help), is not possible for yourself?

Allan :)

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Allan,

I think you may be right about therapy, I am reconsidering it and I plan to do some research. I know I cannot do this alone or I would have already. My issues with therapy started when I was young, I was court ordered to see a psychologist at 2 separate times in my life because of my dysfunctional parents. I spent my childhood in court rooms and offices. None of it helped because I could feel that they didn't really care and were just doing their jobs. I hesitate to revisit that time in my life. I realize that things may not feel the same to me now and that it could be very beneficial, but it feels like opening up a can of worms I thought I sealed long ago (but obviously did not).

As for AA, I have read some things about it online, I am not religious and most of the material I read about the program spoke about God. I would feel like a hypocrite. I am not adverse to looking into some of the programs Xenophon mentioned I just haven't yet. As for my friends, I have known them for a long time and although I know the 3 that are close to me see I have a problem only 1 has ever said anything to me about it and she is as bad off in addiction as I am. When we get together there is no help just drunk. We do speak about it though, she knows exactly what I know. The other 2 would never speak about something so emotional. It hurts my feelings that they pretend nothing is wrong, I feel like they should care more about me, but then I think, "that isn't fair, they have their own lives to worry about".

Last night I got a late phone call from my sister (she lives with my dad and brother). She was very upset. My father drank quite a bit of whiskey and tried to hit my brother (this is not common). My father and brother wrestled around and destroyed some furniture in the process. She called the police and left the house for awhile. By the time the police came my father had realized how bad the situation was and calmed down. They did not arrest him. Even though I live 30 miles away from them I feel like I should have been there to protect them, I know that we are all adults but I still feel some what responsible for them because of the role I played in their child hood. Any way, the events of last night, as well as others, have shown me what doing nothing about your problems can lead to. I don't want to end up that way. I love my father, but he is sick and won't admit it.

I am doing better now out of sheer want than I was 6 months ago. I am being proactive and trying to reclaim my life. I think positive thinking is helping me to make the changes I need, but I still feel desperate and lost sometimes. I know there is know where to go but up, but I am still looking for the "big" shove.

Xenophon,

My goal is moderation. 12 drinks or less a week is about where I would like to be. I will look at HAMS and will let you know what I think. One of the changes I spoke about earlier in this post is spending more time out doors. Where I live we have already had several warm, sunny days. I took advantage of every one by taking walks for exercise and taking a picnic and the newspaper to the park after work. Doing this has calmed my mood and I cannot drink in the park! I intend to do this as often as possible as it warms up outside.

I thank you all for the support you have given me so far, I want you to know how much it helps. Beautifully Flawed

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Good. As we are both aware, the present situation is untenable. As a practical matter, harm reduction is necessary. Replacing the drinking with another behavior which precludes alcolhol consumption is a good idea. Do that as much as possible.

from what you have related, therapy is indicated.

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I, too, was "forced" to go to therapy by my parents, after almost failing my senior year, including English. I thought the therapist was an idiot, refused to talk to him, and quit after four sessions.

It was only later that I realized that the therapist did his best to draw out a rebellious teenager, and that it was I who acted like an idiot by refusing help that I needed, regardless of how it was offered to me. :-)

Maybe some day I'll get to the point where I don't see anybody as an idiot, just as who they happened to be at the time.

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I see what you are saying...you didn't give it a real chance because you were rebelling against everything in your life. I have also been there. My situation was different. I wasn't a teenager, I was a child. I may have had a much different opinion of the whole process if I had been older, but I was 5 the first time I was ordered to see a therapist and 11 the last time. I remember both. One of my psychologists actually told my family everything I said in our sessions, then I would catch hell at home because I was telling "lies" about my family to strangers. My parents did not choose for me to go, it was ordered by my state. For a long time my parents accused me of playing them against each other but I truly was very scared and upset and I guess that showed through in my actions because I caught the brunt of my parents divorce and subsequent years of battling in the court system because I was the oldest child.

I felt then like the only thing holding me and my sister and brother together (twins) was myself as we bounced from parent to parent as per the custody agreement the courts came to, which eventually led to joint custody. After the joint custody arrangement was made we moved from parent to parent every 2 weeks which meant that we lived out of our suitcases for 4 years. I put them to bed every night, made sure they did their homework, made sure they got dinner and stayed safe to and from school regardless of whose house we were in at the time. We were lucky enough to have wonderful grandparents who took care of our needs that our parents could not or did not provide. When I turned 16 I was old enough in the eyes of the law to make my own decisions. I chose to go live with my dad because he provided more stability (he owned his own home) than my mother who bounced from rental home to rental home and boyfriend to boyfriend. The twins were still bound by the joint custody agreement and that caused me feel to guilty. I felt like I had left them behind, but they were so much younger than me at the time that they didn't really understand, all they saw was how much fun they had camping on the river; taking baths in it and playing in the fields, they didn't see that it was because they were homeless for a short period of time.

I left home for college as soon as I could and left them alone again. The day my grandparents took me the 100 miles to my dorm my sister came with them and cried hysterically the whole way. She was only 14 and kept asking me why I was leaving them. I have never forgotten the way she was that night and the immense guilt I felt.

I eventually dropped out of school and came home for about a year ( in my own apt) before leaving out for a city 300 miles away again. From there I moved through 3 states in 5 years, but my sister and brother came to visit me everywhere I lived, I came to get them and would take them home or my grandparents would. Once we even took Greyhound. I moved back to where I am from nearly 3 years ago, I came home to adults (the twins) who have many of the same problems I do. That showed me that you cannot run away from your problems. Now that they are adults I am even more afraid because my brother, who doesn't like to talk about emotional problems obviously has anger issues and is about to get married! My sister, who I am close to, has expressed being worried about depression.

I am sorry this post is so long but I have been drinking tonight. I guess I do need therapy because reading this, I realize how f-ed up things really are. Thanks to you who are listening and offer advice, I appreciate it.

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Yeah, I'm sorry: I kinda focused on what happened to me for while, and this is your thread.

I do recommend getting whatever help you can (I've been in therapy, and it helped, several times since that first time I wrote about.) "Things" may be messed up, in your situation, but I don't see that any of those things are you. The situation, and especially raising your brother and sister, really aren't your responsibility. As far as I can tell, you took almost superhuman measures to care for them, and you deserve to give yourself a break.

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I did not mean to sound possessive of this thread in my post, I just kind of got carried away and finally had to make myself stop writing. I would be glad to hear more of your story, sharing mine on this site has helped me so much already. I think hearing more of yours and others (stories) will help even more, you know, the "you're not the only one" kind of thing. I am reconsidering therapy. I have realized it would probably help. The largest part of the decision will involve time and money. Thanks again for your time and support... now I am going to enjoy this 1st day of spring afternoon. BF

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Guest ASchwartz

Hi Beautifullyflawed and all,

You know, you are all discussing one theme: feeling helpless as a result of things done to you as children. In addition, Beautifullyflawed, you had the awful experience of deciding the parent you wanted to be with afther the divorce. Please, do not misunderstand. You made the right decision. But, I can only guess at the amount of guilt you must have felt about that decision. Was there anyone there to help you with the guilt, to help you lighten it?

With regard to AA, I am well aware of the controversy on this site and others about AA. However, my experience both as a therapist for 30 years and as a friend and family member of those who have gone to AA, it was a very positive experience and helped them stop drinking and feel much better. This was true whether or not they had any religious feeling and regardless of whether they were Chritian, Catholic or Jewish. In my experience, it is the combination of psychotherapy and AA that works best.

Allan :D

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John,

I have to admit to everyone that I am not doing so well with abstaining from alcohol. I have drank every day since last Thur. I can make the decision not to drink for a day at one hour then when the next temptation comes I'll think, "well, just a few drinks today and then I'll stop tomorrow". I have been doing that for a while now. It is very difficult for me to resist my temptation. I guess everyone trying to control themselves experiences this. I also have to admit that I do not want to stop all together. What I want is to be able to control my drinking so that I can enjoy a few drinks at a restaurant or bbq without over doing it and drinking every day. Its compulsive at this point. I want drinking to be something I enjoy with a group of friends without getting drunk and without being ruled by it. I want it to be a decision instead of a compulsion. I want to be able to drink a glass of wine with dinner and not need to follow it with the rest of the bottle. I will look into rational, thanks for the info.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I use alcohol as an ice breaker because I am often too nervous when meeting and interacting with new people. It usually works well for a while, loosening me up enough to talk to people, then I have too much and end up showing my problem to people which, in turn, scares them away. I am afraid this is giving me a certain reputation that I do not want associated with myself.

Allan,

Since you have been a therapist for many years, I wanted to ask you if you think CBT may benefit me. I realize that you cannot know much about me just by the posts I leave here but if you have any thoughts on CBT I would be grateful to hear them. I am not sure if my insurance will cover therapy but I have come to realize that my issues are not solely alcohol related.

Thanks to all, BF

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As another person struggling with trying to give up alcohol, I can totally relate to your situation. I am aiming for complete abstinence though. I know myself well enough to know that drinking in moderation is not a realistic option for me. In fact doing so seems like torture, as if I’m teasing myself with something that I enjoy, but I know from past experience can quickly get out of hand. I like John’s suggestion of committing to a brief period of complete abstinence to help clear your mind and maybe get a better idea of where you stand with alcohol.

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I did look into Rational Recovery and found it very interesting. I had never truly thought about the difference between "it" and me. I have been using that idea when fighting temptation. I am still drinking but not today. I completely agree with the idea of abstaining and clearing my head for awhile before deciding if moderation is possible and it very well may not. I do know myself and I am not the sort to stop at 1 or 2 drinks, it would take enormous self control to achieve drinking in moderation and I do not possess that now. Lie_Low's description of teasing fits.

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  • 3 months later...

I have been off line for several months but I am back now. An update for anyone who is interested: I am still drinking but have cut back drastically. I moved out of my house where I had 2 roommates and into an apartment of my own. At first this was bad for me, I was getting drunk every night and having a difficult time getting to work on time in the mornings. After a couple of months the financial situation really hit me. I couldn't afford internet access and was struggling to pay my bills. I realized the amount of money I spend on alcohol and tobacco per month is more than enough to cover me. I have now cut my addictions in half and money was the motivator. I don't know about the future but I feel like I am doing okay now.

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