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Tapering off and Reality, My story so far.

Old 04-19-2012, 01:30 AM
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Cool Tapering off and Reality, My story so far.

Let me start by saying I have known I was an alcoholic for about 2 years now. I always drink alone for the most part and it is always liquor. Before my first stint of sobriety it was just about 200ml-400ml of 100proof Rumplemintz. I would go through minor withdrawals here and there, mainly anxiety and taper off fairly easy. I could go days or weeks without a drink but then I would start drinking again same routine. Then I quit for 2 months, and felt like a superstar. Recently I started a bender that last 1 1/2 months. I started with the usual 400ml, then it became 600ml. A flask in the day and my 400ml at night. The last 17 days of it was entire bottles of goldschlager 750ml, and beers in the morning to stable myself. I felt horrible and wanted to stop but I couldn't anymore, I was alcohol dependent.

Come two days ago I was locked up alone in a my room, fighting terrible anxiety, I was hearing things, and I had to keep all the lights except a strand of christmas light. Christmas lights you ask? Total darkness caused me to see things so a little light kept that at bay but anything more than that and I would see what looked like falling coins in my peripheral vision. I was trying to taper off on my own using a backpack full of beer.

While it may have seemed I was succeeding and maintaining my schedule a one beer to calm my nerves and keep things as under control as possible about every 1-2hrs if i could make it that long, it was still an utter nightmare. I was still convinced I was winning and at this point was using the chat room here for support. Many didn't think I could do it, I was fairly confident I could that I had that willpower to do it.

Day one was a total nightmare horrible withdrawals: only light shakes, no sweats, extreme anxiety, and my body promising me hallucinations if i didnt get it alcohol on schedule. I was chatting in the chat room to keep myself sane and watching dumb and dumber of all movies. I knew i needed medical help, but still thought I had the power to taper. I thank heavens that Zee and few other's were there to share their stories and use positive encouragment to get me to finally seek real help from a doctor. They shot me strait, I might be thrown in an ambulance at the doctors office, and that detox at a hospital was a very real posibility but one I MUST BE STRONG ENOUGH to undergo if I wanted any chance at beating this. I was on my second day of tapering and still scared pretty shitless of everything but I drank my last beer so I could make the walk across the street to the local physician here. A family clinic in my small town.

I stood outside the doorway to their office for at least 15 minutes damn near ready to run back to my tapering. The words of those from chat ringing in my head GO TO THE DOCTOR! GO GO GO! I walked in and the attendant at the counter asked me to wait and chatted with the delivery guy for a few minutes. I meanwhile was sitting in a chair seriously trying no to run out of the office. My brain saying this is your chance RUNNNNN. He left and she took two more phone calls joking with me she would be with me in a moment. I forced some fake laughter and just hoped I would start tripping balls because it was so bright in the office, and halogen lighting. She finished up her call,

"So what can I do for you?" She said. Alright Matthew I thought to myself tell them the truth, this is pointless if you don't tell them the truth. So i went for it, "Honestly ma'am, I have extreme anxiety and depression and I have been self medicating with alcohol for a month and a half now and now I am experiencing extreme withdrawals." I cringed, I had said, oh dear jesus here comes the judgement and look of disgust. Instead what I got was complete and general concern, "Oh my!" Oh my she said no very aware that I was fidgeting and basically freaking out about every noise in the office. "I bet we can get you something to take care of that anxiety and the doctor will check you out to see what sort of shape your in." She took me in and took my pulse, "Woah dear I knew your pulse would be high because your shaking, it's 120 the doctor will be in to see you just sit here and stay calm." A few moments later the doctor came in. Now here comes the judgement and discontented looks for sure I was thinking. Nope, he was even more comforting and concerned than the nurse. He asked my questions about my drinking I was honest, and then instead he went strait to my anxiety. We talked about when it started, (when my father beat leukemia then killed himself with alcohol, 5 years of hell) and everything that could contribute to my anxiety. He draw up a small circle with seven circles and basically told me I wasn't crazy, I had just experienced most than other people and being an alcoholic is part of that as well but just a small part. As he explained everything relief was washing over me. He wanted to get to know me so he could find the right solution after my recovery to get my mental state where it needed to be. He told me about counseling and that it was very obvious my anxiety came from grief and treating the grief was really my main concern.

No ambulance to detox (he knows I have never abused pills of any kind, and that I don't smoke weed, which makes anxiety worse btw) So we came to and outpatient conclusion. He explained all the benzo's to me and their positives and negatives and felt the best course for me would be light doses of a certain benzo I wont name because what works for one person wont for another you need a doctor to pick the proper one because while they are in one category they have slightly different effects and uses. He called in the prescription set up the next checkup and then expressed his general concern and said how sorry he was for my loss and sent me to the grocery store next door to get my pills. It felt like I had just been touched by Jesus. In the store I was still horribly anxious while they filled my prescription. I hadnt eaten and had only had beer and gatorade the past 3 days so I had to run to the bathroom to pee out my arse for the 7th time that day. Came out and decided to get a fresh cheesesteak from the deli because I knew I needed to eat and maybe I would eat one bite of it later that day if the pills worked at all. Grabbed a gatorade went back to the pharmacy my prescription was filled and the lady brought them to the counter, I paid and immediatly opened em up and took one. (note: my doctor specifically chose magic pill because it is fast acting, like 5-8 minutes to get going). By the time I checked out, I could feel my anxiety calming and the light wasn't affecting me as much. I even stopped at the dvd kiosk and picked up warhorse. 15 minutes later, the benzo was working and I was a bit euphoric, having never took these but actually elated. I wasn't in anxiety hell! Then you know what happened, my body not worrying completely about booze all of sudden was like, "yo dude, YOUR STARVING AND YOU HAVE A CHEESESTEAK!". I ate it happily strolling down a local path, "It was delicious and I finally felt empowered to beat my addiction. I got my first sleep in 4 days, woke up a bit scared a couple times and took another half of my magic pill and when I calmed back down slept for 8 hours strait! Amazing. Knowing you have the help and support of a truly concerned doctor is HUGE.

While I know it's not much, I am determined never to drink again. Im going to get counseling as well for my grief and my addiction.

I know this was a really long read but I wanted to be thorough so I could really help to bring light to the fact that, why yes tapering off alcohol with alcohol may be possible, and I have done it before. I thought I could do it again because unlike most I had the willpower. I now know the real willpower game was the one where I sought help from a doctor. Nothing and I mean NOTHING compares to going to your doctor and getting the PROPER treatment. One I've my biggest excuses was I dont have health insurance. My visist was $50 dollars and the prescription $8. So while you can sit and suffer for days I highly suggest to all, go see your doctor and wish everyone the best.

I intend to update this thread with my progress so hopefully it can help guide others in the right direction.

Many thanks to soberrecovery.com and those in the chat here, I couldn't have done it without the support here.
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Old 04-19-2012, 01:50 AM
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Totally understand man.
You did a great job of describing this, alot of your story was very helpful to me and I am sure it will be recognized by alot of others still suffering.
Well done on draggin yer arse to the doc. I know its massively overwhelming at the time. I sure can relate to having some sort of light on when "trying " to sleep (even though during the day I had all the curtains shut , didnt answer the phone or door as I was in constant fear.) I too could not stand complete black darkness as it was like a horror movie was being projected on the back of my eyelids.
Its getting ALOT better for me now. I wish you all the best on your journey to living a better life and enjoying it.
God Bless and thanks for the post!
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Old 04-19-2012, 02:34 AM
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I'm really glad you sought some help too - thanks for sharing your story, Idol...and welcome

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Old 04-19-2012, 02:44 AM
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This really makes me happy!

Keep on eating right, sleeping well, and posting! And well done chat room folks, great advice and support!
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Old 04-19-2012, 03:39 AM
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That's a great share...You did the right thing...Best wishes for you and keep us up to date.
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Old 04-19-2012, 04:23 AM
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Awesome read, so happy for u and LOVE hearing about great doctors!
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Old 04-19-2012, 07:13 AM
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Go to AA,now.You will eventually start taking those pills alcoholically and then Hell will follow shortly.
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Old 04-19-2012, 03:22 PM
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Our AA here is 4 drunk guys one that can barely talk, so I opted for counseling. My doctor is monitoring me very closely. The pills are just to get through any anxiety attacks. I don't have alot, I just keep one in my pocket in case I have a panic attack. Some people are likely to substitute the pills for alcohol, but most of these people have a history of taking medication when it isn't necessary.

I do think AA is a good option for people, but I also think it is very important to find out who we are and what causes us to do what we do, and unless there is a doctor at AA your going to get relief from shard experience but never find out what is truly the underlying cause of, in my case, my depression and anxiety.

Everyone tells me I will just feel better and then live in the moment but the losses I have gone through make that unrealistic for at least the next 3 years because it carries with you even when you think your over it your not.

I will be very careful with my medication but as I said, I'm just not one to abuse medication.
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Old 04-19-2012, 03:24 PM
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Also I should note today I feel even better than yesterday and haven't even needed to use any of the magic pills. I went to the grocery store no problem even had a 15 minute conversation with someone I hadn't seen in a while. Was wonderful.
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Old 04-19-2012, 03:54 PM
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Idol, I'm so glad your doctor visit was such a success. It's easy to become anxious about all of the "what if's" before such a visit but it sounds like you got a really compassionate and knowledgeable doctor. That's fantastic.

Good that you're going to counseling too; you need some kind of program or recovery method to keep you sober.

Some folks do trade one addiction for another, so be careful with those "magic pills." Benzos can be a living hell to come off of, so take as few as possible and don't take any at all if you don't need them. Sounds like you've got the meds under control though, and that's a good thing.

I'm so happy for you. Keep going - it gets better.
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Old 04-19-2012, 05:52 PM
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Wow that was great. I wish every newbie would go to the Dr. like you did. Having done detox on my own it is not fun, and can be deadly. Good job.

You might consider adding your first post to the sticky "Quitting: What to expect (What we did)".

AA in small western towns can be tough. How far are you from Denver? I have to switch NFL teams this year since Peyton is in Denver now. Go Broncos!
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Old 04-19-2012, 05:59 PM
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Welcome to our recovery community.....

Thank you for letting us know that you are now heading into a sober
future....it's an awesome way of life ..

All my best as you move foorward

Last edited by CarolD; 04-19-2012 at 06:21 PM.
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Old 04-19-2012, 10:25 PM
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Originally Posted by dgillz View Post

AA in small western towns can be tough. How far are you from Denver? I have to switch NFL teams this year since Peyton is in Denver now. Go Broncos!
Im in Winter Park so not to far. I couldn't believe it when we got Peyton. I would tell everyone tebow was the greatest ever just to make the react all crazy. Even made Tebow time stickers. Was so funny everyone thought I was serious. That was fun but Broncos might become superbowl worthy with peyton.

Recovery is still going very well. Eating a ton. Drinking tons of Gatorade and water. I know this is just the beginning, but I am determined to get sober and stay sober. I am taking every step to make it work. My current job doesn't work so I am going to find another and move into a new situation, So I can have all new surroundings to work with, ones to associate positive stuff with instead of negative.

Thanks for all the support.
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Old 04-20-2012, 05:37 AM
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I love your attitude.

Always fun to meet Colorado folks ... I grew up in Estes Park and then spent another 10 years in Boulder going to college. I miss it. Did my fair share of skiing at Winter Park too. I miss it!!
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Old 04-20-2012, 08:01 AM
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Well, another day down. Called my boss from a job I had just started a 2 weeks ago. He said he's glad I got through it NOW GET MY BUTT BACK TO WORK! Wasn't sure how it was going to go. Everything is working out.

Just have to keep thinking positive, positive, positive. I can do this, things are going to be better, and keep getting better.
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Old 04-20-2012, 09:52 PM
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I don't post much, but this is a GREAT story!
Good luck with your new life post-alcohol!!
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Old 04-21-2012, 01:41 PM
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Day 4

Welp, Saturday. Still waking up a bit disoriented in the middle of the night, but I feel really good during the day. Haven't needed to take anymore of the medication I was prescribed to handle the anxiety and withdrawals. Been playing the guitar and working on some art. Really enjoying food again. May 1st I get to move out of where I have been living, which is great. (I'm a live in Night Manager for an Inn/Hostel) Last night had some weird guy trying to stay here without any money. That kind of stress is a trigger. So really good I am getting out of here. Luckily I worked my bootay of yesterday so I just feel asleep, but Saturday is going good. It's gorgeous and as soon as my co-worker gets here im going for a hike.

The story shall continue. Positive Positive Positive.
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Old 04-21-2012, 11:06 PM
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Re:Tapering off and Reality, My story so far.

Nice share Idol. Good luck with you recovery, okay. We'll support as best we can. We promise.
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Old 04-21-2012, 11:17 PM
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Thinks tonight went really well. No late check ins at the hotel so I spent it with friends. They were all drinking but are very aware of my situation and made it absolutely painless for me to be amongst them. Even cracked a few lighthearted jokes because they finally opened the fine bottle of wine I bought them a few months ago, for their baby shower.
Things are still looking really good, now for some shut eye
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Old 04-22-2012, 01:48 AM
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Hi Idol. I just ran across your story. It’s very well written. The detail really brought it to life and made for a very nice read. You handled yourself well. You’re also fortunate you got a knowledgeable and compassionate doc. It’s a nice story because things have gone in an almost text book manner so far.

I have a few thoughts.

It’s likely that your grief escalated your “alcohol dependence”. That same alcohol consumption may also have altered your physiology, permanently. Many folks who were able to drink normally in the past have crossed what is often referred to as the “invisible line”. This is where a person loses their power over alcohol. They become unable to control the amount they consume once they have just one drink. I’m not sure where you might be in relation to this invisible line but let me tell you some of my history.

For the longest time I reasoned that I was not an alcoholic. Sure there were lots of times I would drink for days on end, but after getting off the stuff for a few weeks I could have just 1 (sometimes, but only on the first day and not without great effort). The next day found me drinking for sure, and having more than 1. The day after that still more, till I was right back where I had started. Later I could no longer have just a single drink, ever, without it turning into a lot of drinks, and events I could no longer forecast. The question is, when exactly did I turn into an alcoholic? It really does not matter. I know that if I now have a single drink, today, my life will rapidly become unmanageable.

I know you said you are determined to never drink again. That’s fantastic. I said that also, over and over and over again. I went through withdrawals with medical assistance multiple times. Finally, really bad things started happening.

I just could not stay away from the stuff. Your recent experience may keep you away from alcohol for a long time. The grief counseling may greatly help with a cause of your increased consumption. You may gain great insights into yourself in therapy. Yet, if you have crossed that line into alcoholism, and you are like me, you will need some kind of a program or method or approach that is more or less ongoing and for the long term. Whatever you discover I wish you the best. Thanks for relating your experience so well. It likely will help one of the lurkers out there (perhaps one who will even come back, register, and tell say so). You have done a service. Stay well.
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