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Abstaining from alcohol.

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Re: Abstaining from alcohol.

Postby biscuitdough on Wed Jun 26, 2019 8:37 am

Catwoman, while you may not go into acute withdrawal, you may find that your psych meds start working more differently as you have less alcohol in your system. Benzos won't hit you as hard, and some SSRIs/SNRIs will be more potent.
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Re: Abstaining from alcohol.

Postby Boombats on Wed Jun 26, 2019 9:34 am

I didn't mean to be glib on the last page about withdrawal, but it just didn't sound like FM catwoman was drinking in such large quantities. But yes, it's better to err on the side of caution. Doing so requires being honest with your medical professionals, which is why this concerns me:

catwoman wrote:I REALLY don't want to bring this up with my Psych MD, because I'm afraid that instead of support, she's only going to begin monitoring my psych/anxiety/sleep meds in a way that will be negative and stressful.

While I understand that feeling, it is literally her job to do so and if you don't keep her informed as to changes then she can't look out for you. If you don't trust her to monitor your meds then you might want to find a different doctor that you trust, or maybe consider the possibility that you won't trust anyone at this point, which may be a symptom of the anxiety.

Ike wrote:Please, please try not to mix psych/anxiety/sleep meds with booze.

It sounds like FM catwoman is trying to stop doing this. And I think the meds will be more effective without the alcohol, as FM biscuitdough suggests.
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Re: Abstaining from alcohol.

Postby catwoman on Sat Jul 06, 2019 2:10 am

andyman wrote:Going to a support meeting might not be the worst idea. You'll have people local to you that've likely been through what you're going through (plus way more), who can probably advise.


If this was a reply to me, I will say I do not want to venture into the land of AA. Some other support group might work for me, but I am strongly averse to the AA tenet of a "greater power". I've been actively looking at non-theistic support groups.
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Re: Abstaining from alcohol.

Postby catwoman on Sat Jul 06, 2019 2:18 am

Ike wrote:This is a long road ahead of you. I am pulling for you.

Please, please try not to mix psych/anxiety/sleep meds with booze.

Please.

In love, sincerely,
Ike


Thank you for the love! I am careful with my meds and booze. I realize I'm not in my 20's, when I could mix up a LOT of drugs and booze and come out the other side okay. I rarely take anxiety meds, and sleep med doesn't change, which is a low dose and I can sometimes go without.
Definitely paying very close attention to when I drink, why I drink, and what compels me to drink.
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Re: Abstaining from alcohol.

Postby catwoman on Sat Jul 06, 2019 2:30 am

Boombats wrote: If you don't trust her to monitor your meds then you might want to find a different doctor that you trust, or maybe consider the possibility that you won't trust anyone at this point, which may be a symptom of the anxiety.


My med doc is pretty good, overall, but yeah, I kind of feel like if I mention that I'm concerned about my drinking, that she'll cut me off of anything other than the depression meds (sertraline and bupropion). I RARELY take the benzo that I have in-house, because I worry that it could just become a drinking replacement.

Thanks for your input. This is something I'm just starting to work through, and I appreciate that there's a lot of work ahead. It's hard to imagine NEVER getting a little buzz, ever, which is why I think I'm resistant to an all-or-nothing solution.
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Re: Abstaining from alcohol.

Postby numberthirty on Sat Jul 06, 2019 2:55 am

Not a medical professional...

One common thread that's wound up being there in a lot of the folks that I know who just had to quit completely is a story where they decided to try just having a couple after a "Wake Up Call..." sort of an instance.

Each one of the stories those folks will tell you is, that for them, there is no "Just Have A Couple." A couple turns into a six pack. A six pack turns into a case. You get the picture.

When I quit it, it wasn't exactly like that. Got to a fork in the road, and made changes based on seeing where I was standing.

All that said, it seems like maybe cutting back a bit at a time to see if there is an obvious issue might be worth considering.

Let's say your drinks amount to a "5". Try stopping at "4", and see if there is an issue. Might give you an idea where you stand without going right to taking a more serious step.

If it seems like it's working "Minimally...", what are we really talking about? From your point of view?

Either way, good luck.
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Re: Abstaining from alcohol.

Postby steve on Tue Jul 16, 2019 5:55 pm

catwoman wrote:I'm at a point where I need to quit, but I'm really afraid of stopping cold turkey.

Hey, all the love in the world is available to you, here and elsewhere. You knew me when I would drink and knew me when I quit, though I don't think I ever mentioned it, so I thought I'd share this with you specifically and with others who might get something out of it.

I used to equate drinking with socializing, hanging out/playing music/making out with (our common) peer group, and with other enjoyable aspects of life. That was what kept me drinking when I did, the associations. I didn't want to not be around those people, do those things and have that fun.

But I came to realize that nothing about those experiences required me to drink, and in fact drinking prevented me from getting the full measure of each of them. When I quit it was a relief, and every single one of those interactions got better. I mention this because you provide a context for your drinking: the unwinding, the sleep, the buzz... and I want you to know you still get to unwind, still get to sleep and can find other things to make your head buzz. I want you to know that these things that seem entangled with drinking exist on their own, and that once your body adjusts to the absence of alcohol you'll still have all of those things in your life.

I don't have a sober date, because I just stopped drinking at some point, and I know we still hung out after that, so there's a good chance you saw me on the transition, and it may not have registered that anything changed. That's my point, that nothing has to change except the problems alcohol causes.

I feel your reticence with AA, and believe me I get it. The "higher power" business seems silly, and it seems crazy to have to buy into something like that. The counter argument is that AA provides a sense of community and support that is unmatched by anything else on an institutional level -- at no cost -- and the steps, the sponsorship, the meetings... all of it, if you have a problem quitting on your own (I was lucky and didn't), then I don't know of anything that works better.

If nothing else, the practice of attending meetings and acquainting yourself with the steps will give you perspective, which may help your resolve.

I used to be the odd man out with the not-drinking thing, but I was just in the company of a big group of smart, capable people, all of us enjoying life and each other, and it dawned on me that more than half of us were non-drinkers. Not that anybody made a point of it, it just isn't nearly as universal as I remembered it being, and I don't think you, or your peers and your experiences will necessarily feel any different if you're not drinking.

Good luck, keep us posted.
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Re: Abstaining from alcohol.

Postby mrcancelled on Tue Jul 16, 2019 6:55 pm

catwoman wrote:
andyman wrote:Going to a support meeting might not be the worst idea. You'll have people local to you that've likely been through what you're going through (plus way more), who can probably advise.


If this was a reply to me, I will say I do not want to venture into the land of AA. Some other support group might work for me, but I am strongly averse to the AA tenet of a "greater power". I've been actively looking at non-theistic support groups.


There are some atheist/agnostic AA meetings in Chicago--no praying or theistic higher power stuff. Also some of the ones I've been to that weren't labeled as non-religious were still very light on it--one group can be entirely different from the next.

I used to go to Refuge Recovery meetings, which are sort of Buddhist influenced but generally free of religion in any kind of organized sense. There's a brief meditation, reading portion, and then an open discussion. No pressure to read or even speak, which I always liked.

I believe SMART recovery is non-religious or at least has some non-religious groups, but I've never been to any. I've heard good things though.
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Re: Abstaining from alcohol.

Postby andyman on Tue Jul 16, 2019 9:35 pm

Just to be clear, I am far from a 12-step spokesman, and still a dyed-in-the-wool agnostic-bordering-on-atheist. Fuck all that noise.
The higher power thing is just some belief you can hold onto, like, that it's possible to quit, or that you won't drink tomorrow, or that the recovery group will help you pull through.
It doesn't have to be some all-knowing being that's supposed to be looking down on you. Fuck that.

Personally, I just dug the people and their crazy, fucked-up stories. I used to drink alone, so being around people helped me stay sober.

Still detest (most) Christians, still detest their stupid bullshit.
Last edited by andyman on Wed Jul 17, 2019 6:50 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Abstaining from alcohol.

Postby Boombats on Tue Jul 16, 2019 10:38 pm

Excellent post, steve.

Re: SMART Recovery, yes it's secular and evidence-based. Not ubiquitous like AA but worth finding a group if 12-step programs don't feel right.
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Re: Abstaining from alcohol.

Postby biscuitdough on Wed Jul 17, 2019 1:46 pm

steve wrote:I feel your reticence with AA, and believe me I get it. The "higher power" business seems silly, and it seems crazy to have to buy into something like that. The counter argument is that AA provides a sense of community and support that is unmatched by anything else on an institutional level -- at no cost -- and the steps, the sponsorship, the meetings... all of it, if you have a problem quitting on your own (I was lucky and didn't), then I don't know of anything that works better.

If nothing else, the practice of attending meetings and acquainting yourself with the steps will give you perspective, which may help your resolve.


I was also fortunate to quit without an organized method or group. I know AA people though.

The reason to go to AA is also the reason not to go to AA: their whole program is built around a very Christian idea, that you, as an individual, are weak and evil and prone to sin. They teach you not to trust your own judgement. Since God is unlikely to intervene in your recovery, they also set you up with a group and a sponsor. These are people you can turn to them when your own judgement is leading you to start drinking again, so they can say catchphrases at you, and tell you that you are about to start backsliding, and tell you their own stories about backsliding.

Some people need that, or something like it.

Some people don't need that. There are other groups that are less religious in nature and have structures that don't mirror the sin-and-redemption thing. They tend to be smaller and maybe a bit harder to find, but living in a major city should make that a little easier.
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Re: Abstaining from alcohol.

Postby gaetano on Wed Jul 24, 2019 10:18 am

biscuitdough wrote:
steve wrote:I feel your reticence with AA, and believe me I get it. The "higher power" business seems silly, and it seems crazy to have to buy into something like that. The counter argument is that AA provides a sense of community and support that is unmatched by anything else on an institutional level -- at no cost -- and the steps, the sponsorship, the meetings... all of it, if you have a problem quitting on your own (I was lucky and didn't), then I don't know of anything that works better.

If nothing else, the practice of attending meetings and acquainting yourself with the steps will give you perspective, which may help your resolve.


The reason to go to AA is also the reason not to go to AA: their whole program is built around a very Christian idea, that you, as an individual, are weak and evil and prone to sin.


Respectfully: that is a very broad idea, also typical of Eastern philosophies that have nothing to do with christianity. AA are about spirituality unrelated to religion. And the notion of a "higher will" can be maintained even in a secular perspective, one does not need a god or divine transcendence for that.
Something to meditate upon when choosing to seek for help.
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Re: Abstaining from alcohol.

Postby catwoman on Sun Jul 28, 2019 10:20 pm

steve wrote:
catwoman wrote:I'm at a point where I need to quit, but I'm really afraid of stopping cold turkey.

Hey, all the love in the world is available to you, here and elsewhere. You knew me when I would drink and knew me when I quit, though I don't think I ever mentioned it, so I thought I'd share this with you specifically and with others who might get something out of it.


I actually always thought you were a non-drinker, so maybe I never noticed that you were ever boozed up, if you were. Thank you for adding to the convo, and thanks for the support.

Some of this may have to do with the loss of those social connections and activities that we all shared "back in the day". At some point I lost all those connections, and my social withdrawal has a lot to do with this current "thing" I'm grappling with. Aloneness (not to be confused with loneliness) makes it easy to become apathetic. I'm not dead yet, so I figure I've got to get back into living instead of just existing.
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Re: Abstaining from alcohol.

Postby ldopa_chicago on Tue Jul 30, 2019 2:06 pm

Best of luck, catwoman.

People's assorted opinions on AA aside, you can definitely stay sober and thrive in AA as an atheist/agnostic. AA is not the only path but it does work for quite a wide variety of people.
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Re: Abstaining from alcohol.

Postby dead mariachi on Tue Aug 20, 2019 11:14 am

11 days cold sober. think i can rest easy now.. was afraid i might get closelined by dts, maybe a random grand mal siezure like what happened to my mother that time she went cold for a week. but no, no wd symptoms, nothing. not even really any craving now that serotonin/dopamine is evened back out again.

i dont even mean to go that long. couple weeks and some b1 pills is all it oughta take to reset. alcohol has been giving me horrendous insomnia this year and cutting back is going to be much less choice than necessity because of this. and boy, is it good to sleep again. mmm mm mmm.

the boredom can be a little grating though. no tools no instruments no community. think i need me some churchgoers. where those mormon missionaries at when you need them. i need human interaction that doesnt require talking about drugs and cannibis and everything else dysgenic that bores a man out of his everloving mind. gimme some of that church then jesus. anything to be involved in anything, anything for some mental stimulation that facilitates comradery and in more ways than just eyes squinting down into a sea of text.
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Re: Abstaining from alcohol.

Postby jimmy spako on Tue Aug 20, 2019 11:58 am

I stayed at my brother's place for a couple weeks in June. He and his girlfriend are rocking recovery, so no drinking or storing alcohol on the premises. This has been a nice influence for me over the past several visits. I had a couple beers when we went out to eat alone or were roadtripping, but just a couple, and usually just one at a sitting.

Since coming back on July 5th, I've had like a shanty and a half at a couple get-togethers and have not had any alcohol otherwise, except the tiny bit in the non-alcoholic beer I've been drinking, at most a small bottle a night. This is for sure the longest I have been without alcohol in a couple decades.

I feel good. Didn't really mean to do it, but here we are, and it is significantly better.

I struggled with an alcohol problem in different ways all my life, like in the sense that I first really encountered plainly on these boards through Tim Midyett's "if you have problems when you drink, you have a drinking problem". I drank an awful lot, spent a lot of time in bars in my thirties in particular. Did a lot of drinking against anxiety. I'd already cut out the binge drinking pretty much before becoming a dad and have stuck with a more relaxed approach to drinking since.

Anyways, feeling pretty happy about this shift.

Best to everybody trying to quit or cut down.
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Re: Abstaining from alcohol.

Postby Pasta on Tue Aug 20, 2019 8:16 pm

6 months now.

Just got back from a 4 day trip to Asheville, for an old friends wedding. Stayed at his, with many other people. Whiskey, Vodka, Wine, Beer, and weed were everywhere. I drank coffee, smoked cigarettes, and fed folks. never once imbibed. Never even really thought about it. A nice change. Also found out I'm not really any more or less anti-social sober, than I was drunk.
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Re: Abstaining from alcohol.

Postby the finger genius on Wed Aug 21, 2019 6:04 pm

My last drink was in April 2011. I'm sick as a dog, and really want some fucking Nyquil, like the real stuff, not those shitty capsules. It gives me hesitation, and I know if it gives me hesitation it's cause I shouldn't do it, but man I want some fucking Nyquil so I can just fall asleep and not feel shitty.
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Re: Abstaining from alcohol.

Postby Boombats on Wed Aug 21, 2019 8:41 pm

the finger genius wrote:My last drink was in April 2011. I'm sick as a dog, and really want some fucking Nyquil, like the real stuff, not those shitty capsules. It gives me hesitation, and I know if it gives me hesitation it's cause I shouldn't do it, but man I want some fucking Nyquil so I can just fall asleep and not feel shitty.

There's a non-alcoholic version!
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Re: Abstaining from alcohol.

Postby catwoman on Thu Oct 03, 2019 5:47 pm

Here I am, Day 3 alcohol free.

After posting here a couple months ago, I chewed on the idea, did some googling, and I found myself at a website called The Alcohol Experiment. About 9/20, I set the date of 10/1 to begin my "experiment" of a Sober October. So far, so good. The 30 day Alcohol Experiment plan suits me. 30 days is all they ask, not forever which seems impossible. And, no shame in slipping up and starting over if you need to. I get one email a day, with some info to read, a video to watch, and space to do some introspecting and journalling about the info presented that day. No judgmental stuff, lots of science and medical info to back up what they are saying about what drinking does psychologically and physiologically. There's a forum, I like seeing others sharing their experiences. The woman who runs the site wrote "This Naked Mind".

I also think that when FM warmowski died so unexpectedly, it shook me up. Reminded me that I've got a Bucket List of things I want to do that I keep putting off for "someday", but what am I doing with my today, my now?

If nothing else, in 30 days I should have lost some weight, slept better, and hopefully have a better grip on what was compelling me to drink, and how to manage it without drinking it away.
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