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This topic contains 15 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  anita 2 months ago.

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  • #310845

    F
    Participant

    Hi there

    So, I’m 23 years old and I’m a heavy drinker. Ever since I got into college I started having problems with depression, anxiety and alcoholism. I’ts been a rough road. I’m halfway through. I already overcame depression, but I’m still struggling with my anxiety and alcoholism problems. I drink almost every day and end up blackout drunk about 3 times per week. This cycle has become quite dangerous and my craving for alcohol is very, very intense.

    This also fries my mind since its affecting my family and social relationships, and my performance on college. Actually, I don’t have friends anymore since I barely talk to anyone. I’m a lonely drinker, I usually buy a couple of bottles of wine and go home.

    I want to know if someone’s been in a similar situation out there, I really want to change my life for good, and I know it’s not gonna be easy but I know its not impossible, since I was suicidal 3 years ago and overcame it. Seriously, I think it has been one of the biggest challenges of my life so far. And it’s not how everyone thinks, I don’t drink because I’m depressed, I think it’s just a way for my unconscious mind to get off reality, so I’m starting therapy next week, I want to be given some strategies to manage my addiction.

    I want to know what’s out there, how did you overcome your addiction?

    #310877

    anita
    Participant

    Dear F.R:

    You shared before that you live in Mexico. Are there AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) meetings in Mexico, where you live, specifically?

    anita

    #310907

    F
    Participant

    Yes there are, but I feel like their system is not as efficient and I don’t feel like it actually helps me. That’s why I’ll go with a therapist.

    #310919

    anita
    Participant

    Dear F.R.

    Can you tell me what about the AA system is not or has not been efficient for you? I ask because your answer will help me understand what it is that you do need in your struggle with alcoholism. (I will be back to the computer in about 11 hours. I hope other members will answer you before- and after I return).

    anita

    #311009

    Elle
    Participant

    I can’t offer any first hand advice as I am not dealing with addiction myself. However I grew up in a family with alcoholism not only in my immediate family but extended as well. The immediate family member attended aa and it helped them. However everyone is different. I did find this article online: https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2015/04/the-irrationality-of-alcoholics-anonymous/386255/ which talks about aa and other treatment methods:

    “A meticulous analysis of treatments, published more than a decade ago in <i>The Handbook of Alcoholism Treatment Approaches</i>but still considered one of the most comprehensive comparisons, ranks AA 38th out of 48 methods. At the top of the list are brief interventions by a medical professional; motivational enhancement, a form of counseling that aims to help people see the need to change; and acamprosate, a drug that eases cravings. (An oft-cited 1996 study found 12-step facilitation—a form of individual therapy that aims to get the patient to attend AA meetings—as effective as cognitive behavioral therapy and motivational interviewing. But that study, called Project Match, was widely criticized for scientific failings, including the lack of a control group.)”

     

     

    #311021

    Danielle
    Participant

    Hello,

    I am as well an alcoholic and 24 years old. I started drinking when I was 22 and didn’t stop. I have a boyfriend who is as well a heavy drinker and he was the one who introduced heavy drinking into my life. I have anxiety horribly bad and drinking took all that anxiety away. However, when I drank too much it caused me to become angry and mean sometimes and I ended up going to jail for a while because of a fight that I got in while I was black out. It has basically ruined my life. I was in college before I started drinking and dropped out, I have lost jobs and friends due to being too hungover or drunk to do anything productive and upbeat. I lost my car because of it, I had no money because of it. It was a horrible time. It made me realize that it was ruining my life and so i decided that enough was enough.

    It was incredibly hard to stop drinking for me. I craved it all the time. What worked for me was to think about everything that its taken from me anytime a craving came on. I created a little money saving thing for everyday I didn’t drink. I would put 5 to 10 dollars in a jar because that’s how much I would spend. (actually a lot more but that was enough to feel better) I also had to spend time away from anyone who drank, including my boyfriend. I wrote a list of everything I wanted for my life to make myself more self aware of what was important to me and how alcohol was ruining all of that. I got a gym membership and started working out. Which honestly is probably the best way to stop because you feel so good after and you physically feel like your doing better for yourself and you feel way better about yourself. I finally started talking to people about my addiction and that helped a lot too.

    I think it has a lot to do with making big steps to better your life so you don’t have anxiety and feel in a rut anymore. Alcohol is a crutch for your bad feelings and curing your negative thoughts and feeling happy when your not drunk is what will help the most. Its really, really hard though. Hang out with old friends, go for a walk and get outside, do what you love, make art and listen to music… Take it day by day and it will get better. I haven’t gone to a professional but I’m sure that would help a lot too.

    I do 100% know that being sober is 1 million times better than being drunk all the time. It creates so more anxiety and depression in your mind and body. There is really no way to become mentally and physically better if you continue to drink. You’re life will only go downhill as an alcoholic. I really hope that this helps a little bit and that you can find the strength to become better.

    Much love

    #313259

    F
    Participant

    Sorry I took so long to answer, I was out of town. So, I feel like their system is very archaic and unefficient. Everybody is very nice and supportive, I don’t say they’re not, but I don’t feel like they’re actually listening and I don’t feel understood, since most of the people there have a different cultural background and most of them are people in their 40’s and so.

    #313267

    kate
    Participant

    You are already ahead of the game by recognizing the problem! Alcohol fuels anxiety and depression and taking it out of the equation is both hard and necessary.

    There are many many many ways to quit drinking, and not all of them even require quitting 100% (though most do).  Can you go to therapy and AA and the gym? And find a new hobby that keeps your hands busy? and get a work-out buddy or a movie pal? Anything to occupy your attention and bring a smile into your day will make this easier.

    Making sure your body feels good – providing good nutrition, trying to get good quality sleep (alcohol interferes with sleep), and making sure you have a good laugh every day, will go a long way towards getting healthy.

    Be patient and persistent. Know that you’re not alone. Look for some websites that resonate with you. Soberish.com?

    good luck! You can do this!

    #313285

    anita
    Participant

    Dear F:

    You wrote: “I’m still struggling with my anxiety… I want to be given some strategies to manage my addiction… I don’t feel like they’re (AA members) actually listening and I don’t feel  understood”-

    I see The Problem you are having as Anxiety. Anxiety is a very, very uncomfortable, unpleasant emotional- physical experience. What motivates your excess alcohol drinking is to feel better.

    No  one  likes the feeling of anxiety and no wonder- it feels bad.

    So you drink as a solution but this solution is not that good, creating more anxiety, or at least maintaining it- after the blackout, the next day. And every day.

    -What to do?

    – Lower your anxiety. Lower the anxiety, and you are less motivated to drink. And life is a better experience for it.

    You mentioned attending psychotherapy- this is what should be addressed in therapy first- lowering your anxiety. Adopting a daily exercise routine, and a routine in general that works for you is an excellent idea. Socializing is also most important, socializing with people who do listen to you and who do understand you.

    Question is where to find those people, starting with perhaps, where to find one such person who will  listen to you and understand you-

    – hopefully in therapy and take it from there. Otherwise, I am willing to listen to you and understand you in the context of your thread, right here.

    anita

     

     

    #313315

    F
    Participant

    Thanks a lot Elle, I did some research on this and I found some different methods to treat alcohol addiction included alternative medicine like naltrexone, but I still think that I can significantly reduce my alcohol consumption.

    And thank you very much as well, Danielle, its good to know I’m not the only person that’s ever been struggling with alcohol addiction. I’ll take your advice and see what I can do. I’m slowly recovering and I do take it day by day, although its still incredibly hard. I crave alcohol most of the time, but I’m starting to take care of my mind and body and I think that helps too.

    #313325

    F
    Participant

    Thank you Kate, actually I’ve started working out 3 weeks ago, my body feels much better and I’m starting to see results, I try to get enough sleep everyday and I’m trying to get on a healthy diet as well. Also, I try to read and learn something everyday and try to stay on campus longer than I should just to keep myself busy everyday. I’m also looking for a job and this way I think I would stay busy on a daily basis so that I don’t get to drink. I’ts hard though but not impossible. I like knowing that I’m not alone, thank you very much! Greetings

    Anita, I actually tried going to the gym but that was harder than I thought because I’m gay and being around men makes me feel uncomfortable and makes me wanna vomit, but I do have a daily exercise routine, I run 5km a day and I’m trying to get started on yoga and meditation. I do it everyday even if I don’t feel like doing it at all. I feel more positive now and I’m starting to see results on my body. I just want to keep like this for a while and see where it takes me. Socializing is still a bit hard for me because I don’t know what to say and I feel awkward sometimes, but I do try to keep a smile on my face and talk to people. I just hope I can get better by going to therapy. Thank you for taking the time to write and listen to me.

    #313329

    anita
    Participant

    Dear F:

    You are welcome. Reading your recent responses, reads like you already have a daily routine in which running 5 km per day is significant exercise. You know what you need to beat alcoholism, from nutrition to exercise, yoga and meditation, keeping busier in school.

    Of course, you need to be persistence doing these things.

    Yes, I remember that you shared being gay in a previous thread. Why is it that you feel like vomiting when around men in a gym situation?

    anita

    #313355

    F
    Participant

    Well, that’s part of my overall situation with anxiety. When I’m around significantly attractive men, I feel really uncomfortable, insecure and anxious. I feel as if I was compelled to like them just because of the fact of being gay, I think this happens because of some kind of previous trauma. I’ve been chased for most of my life because of being gay from my immediate family, friends, friends’ parents, even some teachers. These are the kind of things I want to work with my therapist as well, because it’s affecting my daily life and I think alcohol is being some kind of escape to this problems.

    #313363

    anita
    Participant

    Dear F:

    I hope you made sure that the therapist you choose is either gay or is not prejudiced against gay people in any way. And I hope it is a competent, empathetic, and hard working therapist, one for whom you exist beyond the 50 minutes per session. I had my first very good experience with a therapist later in life and if you want, I will share with you what made my experience (2011) the first of its kind.

    Being chased or persecuted for being gay certainly caused you anxiety. How can it not.

    I am sure you know that it is illogical for you must like the physically attractive men in the gym because you are gay. This thought you expressed here makes me think of the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) exercise of challenging thoughts so to determine if they are distorted or accurate, and then, if distorted, correcting it. If you want to do this exercise here with me (I still have the form of this exercise in a folder, from my 2011-13 therapy), let me know.

    anita

    #313419

    F
    Participant

    Hi anita, I haven’t had my first therapy session yet, I’m waiting for them to call me and schedule my first appointment, since it’s a therapist provided by the psychology faculty of my campus, I cannot specifically choose whether they are a competent therapist or not, but I’m gonna make sure to take the most out of them regardless of their position against me. I just need a mental health professional to listen to me and help me identify those pattern of thoughts that are affecting me.

    And yes, I would gladly like to hear about your first experience with a therapist and I would like to try CBT with you here. I’m open to all kind of options to improve my mental and overall health.

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