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.
Hi Kaz. I think the hardest part for me was going out for dinner, being offered drink. I would accept the drink, not eat, drink won, I lost. Now I have the strength to refuse drink, accept soft drink/water, eat food. I never apologize for refusing drink, I now know I have the right to say 'no', where before, to me, the strength lay in being part of the crowd. Even watching my dad repeatedly 'waste' himself when I was growing didn't deter me. I wanted/needed to be just like him. I felt if I was like him, he would love me. The desire is lessening with each 'dry' day. I know I'll always be an alcoholic, now, though I'm 'dry', and intend staying dry. Going back is not an option. Nice to know you're there for me too, Geoff's been a wonderful support too.
It gets easier the longer we stay dry Lynda. It becomes a special kind of freedom. And eventually 'the crowd' just get used to the fact that we don't drink and there's no pressure anymore.
I am so very pleased for you hun. Stay strong tomorrow and look forward to a hangover free Boxing Day. Isn't it wonderful to wake up clear headed on days we would normally have to sleep off a hangover!
Merry Christmas to you my friend.
Hi Kaz. Knowing that what I'm doing is good is keeping me 'dry' too. The hangover part I would counter by drinking. The 'hair of the dog' metaphor was my life. It's the most destructive, soul destroying problem. These days I wake up and remember yesterday, and the day previous. I don't fear waking up. Being told how foolish I had behaved would have me reach for the bottle to 'drown' the memory. Can I ask if you 'clicked' when you met me that I had a problem. Evidently Geoff did. He's a wise, caring man, that one.
A very merry Christmas to you and your wonderful supportive hubby.
Hi hun, he is indeed, a treasure. In all honesty, no I didn't click. I was pretty self-absorbed at that time though, I'd been diagnosed bipolar that week and I was a bit of a mess.
I am so very glad things are good for you now lovely. What are you doing tomorrow?
I'll pass on your wishes to The Pom (he is a good fella - a keeper I reckon 😄) I'm thrilled you have a good one too!
Hi Kaz. Just enjoying a quiet day with daughter, SIL, g'son. My son and DIL are away, which is why my g'son is here. How are you coping with the bipolar, did it come as a shock, or did you suspect? My support system is excellent, plus I have a great volunteer job which I enjoy. My daughter has been excellent as has my son. This past 7 months have been difficult as I had breast surgery, followed by radiation. Then I did a stint on jury duty, so it's been pretty full-on. Mind you, with everything that happened, drinking was a no-no, so something good came from something bad.
Keep in touch, love hearing from you.
Hi, I wondered if I could ask a question about a friend who has an alcohol addiction. I will try to explain as simply as I can.
I have been in close contact with this friend for over a year, he is a strictly platonic, very dear old school friend. With his help and support Via messaging and phone calls, I have come to realise that my partner of 22 years has been abusing me, and with my friends help and support, I am in the process of separating from my partner.
My friend has been very intrumental in helping me, we have been in close contact. However, he began to drink again (I understood that he was a recovered alcoholic of over 12 months when we began to communicate), and he has now has two episodes of drinking for several weeks and then stopping and returning to 'normal life'. When he drinks he loses co tact somewhat, but when he is recovering, he disappears completely, no communication at all..he won't reply to simple messages asking if he is safe or okay..I know he isn't necessarily 'ok', but I need to know he is safe..he will not respond.
I fear that I have perhaps come to rely on him too much, albeit only over the phone or in messages, but nonetheless, I find it difficult to not have his support and contact now that I have had that for so long. Recently he has disappeared again, no replies to messages, voicemails..nothing, he won't reply to let me know if he is safe etc. this hurts a lot because I have become close to him and I worry for him, it isn't all about me and him helping me, I also am concerned for him.
I wanted to ask, is this usual for a person who is struggling with quitting alcohol, or someone who has just stopped drinking? He has never asked me for anything at all, he has been a true friend and support and I have always told him how grateful I am and how fortunate I am to have a friend like him. I ho early have not asked him for anything or pushed him to help me..
Any suggestions or guidance would be most appreciated as I am so worried about him and the lack of response. He lives in a different country so it is impossible for me to visit to check.
Hi autumngreen, and welcome. It's wonderful that you care so much about your friend and want to help him.
From what you've said, my thoughts are that he is not quitting alcohol, he is binge drinking. Sadly, this isn't uncommon for people who have quit in the past and start drinking again. It's a horrible thing to go through. We tell ourselves we won't drink again, go for a while without drinking, then decide we can have 'just one' or a few, and the addiction takes over again and turns into a bender that can last days or weeks. Then we repeat that again sometime later.
Only the person drinking can decide to quit, no-one else can make them. However, you can talk openly to your friend about it, express your concern and offer your support. There's no guarantee he'll take it but at least he will know you think there's a problem and you're willing to support him.
I don't know what country he's in but there will undoubtably be support services, including AA, if he makes the decision to quit.
If he is quitting, it's a day by day thing, for quite a long time. I suggest you keep up your messages, he will need regular contact and support. He might not want to lean on you because he feels you have enough to deal with already. In that case I think you might need to make it all about him for a while.
Do you know if he has friends or family where he is? Maybe suggest he enlists their support too.
Keep in mind though that this is his problem and, while you can help, only he can make the decision to address it.
Best wishes to you, and feel free to keep talking here if we can help you.
thank you for your reply and advice. It's really helpful to know this as I don't have any experience with alcohol addiction and I am so worried about him.
From what I understand, he had an alcohol problem in the past - I am not certain how bad or for how long. When we started to communicate last year, he had been sober for just over a year and he didn't really say or discuss and I felt that he was over that part of his life - at least that is the way it seemed.
During UK summertime, (June/July) he began to drink again and he stopped all communication with me, prior to this he was in touch regularly and actively seeking to help me/talk/message. While he was drinking, to begin with, even though he was drunk he would still call me occasionally and talk to me and seem 'jolly'. I once asked him why he drank again after all the hard work he'd done to remain sober and he said he did it just to test whether he could.
i didn't hear from him for months and I missed him so much. I also worried endlessly about him on a daily basis. I message him and let him know that I felt sick with worry about him, but even knowing this, and him also knowing what I am going through myself, was not enough to make him respond to let me know.
Aroind September I visited UK for family purposes, I contacted him and he seemed to be just getting himself back together but his mood was angry, defensive, stand offish, nothing like the person I'd known at all. Slowly over the 3 weeks I was visiting, he began to go back to 'normal'.
I returned to Australia and communication was Great, he was back at work and back to himself, his relationships were improving. Then another relapse - or so I believe. Again, he stopped responding, I began stressing and worrying and apart from two phone conversations a month or so ago, I haven't heard from him, he won't reply to messages or calls. He promised he would never do this again, I don't blame him - I just feel confused and worried for him and I miss him. I want to offer my help and support and I have told him in a voicemail, that I will do whatever I can and I will continue to offer him my support and I won't wait to be asked, I will just keep offering. I have told him he has never let me down, I don't think any less of him for his drinking, I want him to be well. He is a good person no matter what.
I guess I want someone to say, 'yes this is what happens when people drink'. I can't think of anything I have done wrong.
Hi A. You have done nothing wrong, his addiction is overpowering and he is fighting a daily battle with it. Alcoholics as a rule try to abstain, but they need help. A recovering alcoholic, that is, someone who has managed to stop drinking is usually better equipped to help as alcoholics understand more so than someone who has never experienced the addiction. I understand you mean well, but for you to assist him, you would need to have experienced an addiction yourself. I 'slipped up' some time ago. By that, I mean, I had abstained for about 2 and a half months. I had a neighbour move in who had a drink problem. I managed to steer clear of her for a while. One night I felt ill, I had a cold or something. Anyway, this neighbour and her bf visited me, he brought some alcohol which I drank, I was unwell and it 'seemed like a good idea'. I felt unbelievably guilty and sick next day. My daughter had 'clicked' something wasn't right, she contacted my bf who emailed me. I had to admit to slipping. My bf totally understood, but because he himself is a recovering alcoholic, he was able to 'blast' me for slipping. From one alcoholic to another, he was able to understand exactly what had happened. He told me I had let him, me, and my kids down by 'slipping'. Yes - he understood but, just telling me 'naughty girl, don't let it happen again' is not always enough. He told me that, had he been closer to where I was, he would've literally shaken sense into me. He has told me that being an alcoholic is a life sentence - it is. I still have urges, but losing him, my kids and my job is not an option I want to consider. The strength to abstain does come from within - yes, but, admitting to the addiction then asking for help and guidance is where the strength comes in. You can help by letting him know you are there and won't judge but sometimes being harsh works better than platitudes. If you contact AA, you may also get some guidelines.
Hi A. Thank you for your posts. I am not sure I am equipped to offer any useful advice except from my own experience as a drinker. I am a closet drinker and i know in the padt 6 years that most of my drinking was done alone, away from the world ond others both because of the headspace i was in at the time ( trying to run away from personal probs) and i didnt want anyone to know i was drinking. I would not respond too my phone for days sometimes. Everyone needs someone to care. Your friend will read your messages and be grateful you care and you must do things that are good for you during this time of absence. As for the reason, I don't want too speculate.
I am glad too be able to post my own update on Xmas, that is was a sober one. No alcohol making bad decisions, and my children present.
Alcohol was not nurtured, given a special place to hide then given a very undeserved special importance. Let's see what new years brings.
I hope everyone found some joy and peace in their Christmas. X