Battling the booze
When the black dog bites, many of us reach for a drink. It can ease the pain, help us relax, block out what's going on in our minds. If it's just the odd drink now and then, even one or two a night, there's no harm and maybe even welcome relief. But for some of us, many in fact, literally drowning our sorrows becomes a problem in itself. We drink more and more until the booze takes over, and drinking becomes all we want to do.
That was me for a long time until I finally realised the combination of booze and depression would kill me. If I wanted to live, if I wanted to be able to manage my depression, I had to get sober. I did, nearly five years ago, and it's the hardest thing I've ever done.
If booze is controlling you and you're not controlling it, this thread is for you. If you want to regain control - get sober or moderate your drinking (which for many is harder than quitting) or if you're worried you are drinking too much, join us here.
On this thread I'll talk about my battle with the booze and offer advice and support to anyone who is struggling. I welcome anyone who's been there or is worried they are going there, to join in. And I hope others now living sober will come here to help our friends who are struggling.
One thing this thread is not is a place to discuss how much a drink or two helps you. It's not an anti-alcohol thread, but it's not a general discussion about alcohol either. It's for people who are genuinely worried about it or who want to control it, and it's a place of celebration (without judgment about drinkers) for those of us who are now living sober.
I hope anyone who's battling the booze will join us.
I've been through an arduous battle with prescription drugs and alcohol for most of my adult life and decided to get clean about 16 months ago. It was the best decision I ever made. Drinking and drugging was destroying my life even early on and I wound up in rehab at age 23. I've noticed that addiction and alcoholism are more frequently popping up on this board and would even suggest to the moderators that they create a subsection to deal specifically with alcoholism and addiction. It goes hand in hand with anxiety and depression for many people, I know it did for me.
Good thread Kaz,
I hope more people can come forward and talk about their experiences.
Well done Kaz. Both for starting up this thread as well as for conquering your addiction to alcohol 5 years ago.
Until about 20 years ago I hardly drank at all, other than maybe a glass of wine with christmas dinner, wedding toasts, and the like. But after I developed ptsd I found that I started drinking more and more. Then when I married my husband 18 years ago, he was a big drinker, so it became normal to have a drink or two most nights. Turned out that he is an alcoholic, and I guess if you cant beat them, then you join them.
When my ptsd got particularly bad around this time last year (hubby was away at the time) I was feeling afraid, couldnt sleep, and I just wanted it all to stop. So I would drink all night trying to forget, to try to force those distressing thoughts out of my head. Then I'd literally fall into bed and still couldnt sleep. But I was drinking quite heavily and would have no memory of it all the following morning. One evening I passed out and woke up the next morning on the floor. This really frightened me and I decided it was time to seek help.
As a result I underwent CBT and Exposure Therapy for the PTSD last year. This has helped to reduce some of the anxiety symptoms and definitely helped me to modify my drinking. I do still have an occasional glass or two of wine, or scotch, but I think I have it under control at present.
I am still afraid though that I could lapse back into the habits of last year. And if I was to do so, I may not come back. So I am very interested to hear of other peoples experiences of combatting the lure of drinking to help with sleep and to help to forget past traumas.
And having a husband who is an alcoholic, I am also interested to hear how others are able to deal with living with an alcoholic and how best to help them.
that fell to this habit, from early in the morning until whenever I could stay awake.
I would also drive my car until I was caught, and now in hindsight, I was stupid, not caring about other drivers on
the road and I deserved to be punished and lost my licence for 2 years, and now I would never drive if I have had a drink,
and tell those that they can't drink and drive, so I have to make that point before I continue on.
My need to be able to drink while in depression is something that could only numb me, although my wife and 2 sons hated
seeing me drink and would anything to get rid of the wine cask, so if they found it they would empty the contents, which
then made me become a cupboard drinker, hiding it in different spots, and not one spot but several spots, so if they found
one spot, it didn't matter because I had several other spots where I had hidden my grog.
My need was so intense which eventually was one reason why my wife divorced me, I don't blame her, however she had problems
which she was never going to fix, because 'she knows best', and unfortunately she is still not willing to change, which
at times has created problems with our 2 sons, who didn't want anything to do with her, so I then became the 'go-between'.
A great post to start, and by the way I only drink socially these days and have no need for alcohol to help me along in
There's a lot more to discuss. Geoff.
Thanks Pat, Sherie and Geoff. I really appreciate your responses - and Pat a special well done to you mate for tackling it so young. I know lots of people (through another forum for people with alcohol problems) who only faced up to it in mid-life or older and one thing they all had in common was that they wished they had acknowledged their problem at a much younger age. I'd love to hear more of your story, especially for the benefit of other younger people on here. Good stuff!
Geoff I'd like to hear how you go about moderating your drinking. I'm an all or nothing kinda gal and know I can't moderate, but some people can and do very successfully. Do you find it difficult or is it comfortable for you?
Sherie hun - seems to me you had the excellent sense to take action and take control before drinking took control of you. That's so great. I regularly woke up on the floor, and a variety of other places I shouldn't have been LOL, before I accepted I needed help. Recognising and admitting you've got a problem isn't easy, but the sooner you do the easier it is to find your way out.
I want to mark a special day for one of our members today - Moonstruck is three years sober today. We've posted in the cafe and elsewhere about this but I think it's really appropriate for this new thread to kick off on a high note - Good on you Moonstruck! For anyone who wants to join us there is cake in the cafe and a little celebration around 8pm tonight. I hope other sober folks will feel comfortable sharing special anniversaries etc like that. We do need to congratulate each other!
I also want to invite people to post here with ideas or questions about what you'd like this thread to include. I have my own, but I hope to hear from others so it's as useful as possible.
Have a good evening everyone!
Hi folks - It's Friday! These days I love Fridays because I know I've got a whole weekend ahead to play with!
There were times though when Fridays were fraught for me. I'd be really looking forward to what I'd do on the weekend, counting the hours till knock-off time ... and my first drink for the day. I would tell myself all day that I wouldn't drink too much tonight because I wanted to enjoy tomorrow.
Then I'd get home, open a bottle, and two or so (bottles) later fall into bed if I was lucky, or, more likely pass out on the couch, floor, paving outside or somewhere else I shouldn't have been. Often after a raging row with my then partner.
Saturday mornings were a mystery - I didn't see many of them. Saturday afternoons were trying to pretend I was OK while feeling ill with a shocking hangover. By Saturday evening I'd usually lost the battle of 'I won't drink tonight', then Sunday was a repeat of Saturday.
On Monday, people at work would say what did you do on the weekend and I'd lie. Make up something that sounded feasible 'oh, just a quiet one, housework, gardening, you know'.
If any of this is familiar to you ... maybe it's time for a change.
I hated Fridays when I was first getting sober because I didn't know what to do with them and the urges were so strong. I had to change my routine. I often went to bed very early to beat them. Other things I did was get immersed in a good book, take a long hot bath, go to a movie, go to the gym - basically anything that stopped me opening the bottle as soon as I got home. But I had to be committed to it - no half-heartedness and no 'just one'.
These days I love Friday nights. And Saturday mornings (they exist! who knew!) and the rest of the weekends.
I'll be hanging around here tonight if anyone needs some Friday night company.
Kazzl your post rings bells here, I am looking forward to the weekend too but it wasn't always so and the fights and lost weekends were part of my journey too and, for me, it went downhill from there. That was several years ago and getting free of my addiction was the hardest but most rewarding thing I have ever done but these days I am able to enjoy the whole weekend and I fully expect to enjoy this one.
Abstinence has become a part of my life, usually it is something I don't question and don't consciously work at but recently, since the black dog has wondered by, I have had to apply myself just a little. I don't believe that I am at great risk of a return to drinking, I am not craving and certainly not in physical need but I have been aware of a wanting to feel different, to escape from the intangible down or to counteract that vacant feeling that the black dog brings, so I am being careful right now.
So I'll be nearby tonight too so if you are battling please drop by, say hello.
or Monday or any other specific day that I was looking forward to, it was the hour or when I woke up that I was looking
forward to, so I could find a reason why I could drink, and what was the reason, well there was no reason at all, but it
didn't stop me from drinking, I pretended to go to my shed to do something, was just an excuse to find where I had hidden
some alcohol and continue drinking, what a great relief that was.
I will open this post tomorrow morning and answer Kaz, but in the meantime let me know how you both go tonight, and
it doesn't matter how you feel. Geoff. x
Hiya Bayleaf, thanks for posting! I soooo understand that wanting to escape. For me it was about turning off my mind - finding oblivion. But for we-of-the black-dog-brigade, seeking oblivion can be a dangerous thing in itself, especially if we find it in a way that leaves us capable of doing terrible things without even being conscious of it. Like posting rubbish or abuse or too much personal information on facebook or phoning someone who's upset us and telling them off. And, we can make ourselves vulnerable to predatorial types - not just women, but men who can end up in brawls.
I wince when I remember some of those things.
Hey Geoff - thanks mate. You've reminded me about the 'hidden' booze. I didn't hide mine because I mainly drank at home and my partner did too, so I didn't have to hide it. But the other forum I belonged to had lots of stories from people who hid their booze so their partners or families wouldn't know how much or when they were drinking. They found some very creative ways to do it too (even inside the lining of a coat!)
Then there was the problem of disposing of the empties ... sneaking out to other people's bins on bin night. It's almost funny to think of those things now ... but not quite. I still find it satisfying to put my empty plastic bottles of diet cola into the recycle bin - they don't make the telltale clink clink clink of wine bottles. 😄
Good evening Kaz, and other contributors to this thread.
As explained in my earlier post to this thread, I dont believe I ever got to the stage where I was "alcohol dependent", but I have abused alcohol in the past. And I think it definitely had the potential to control me, rather than the opposite.
It was around this time last year, that I realised that it was becaming a real problem. But after some treatment for my PTSD I have been able to control it adequately for the past 12 months I think. However, I am finding that same urge this year, to just drink to the state of oblivion. To enable me to forget for a while, to force the brain to slow down, and to fall into bed oblivious to anything else. To just give me a break for one night!
But I know I cant do that. So far, I have resisted the urge to go back for that 3rd, 4th and 5th double scotch. I cant let alcohol take over my life, I cant add that to my ever increasing list of problems. It is, I hope, just a passing thing due to current triggers, but I am a little concerned. The temptation is definitely there, and is very strong.