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The Roots of My Problem

Old 06-07-2016, 10:15 PM
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The Roots of My Problem

I'm going to apologize in advance for this long and likely boring post. It might turn out to be a mess, but I think getting it out in writing might be good for me.

I've been drinking since I was 15 - I'm now 24. I've had some pretty serious self esteem problems since early middle school. I've always hated myself. My drinking didn't really become a problem until I was 20. I had moved away for school, for the second time, after deciding the first school wasn't for me, even though I did great. Right before I made this move, my boyfriend of four years left me. It might sound cheesy to say a teenager found the love of her life, but I did, and then I lost him. It broke me. And it did some extreme damage to my already low self esteem.

I started drinking to numb the pain, and then I realized I became a different person when I was drunk. I was confident, not afraid to talk to strangers, I was "fun." Guys liked me for the first time in my life. I convinced myself that I had moved on and was now some confident, independent woman - thank you, alcohol. I spent more time drunk than not. This progressively destroyed my grades in school, and I've always been a straight A student. Then I got down on myself for my bad grades, so instead of trying, I partied more, went to class less. I couldn't say I was screwing it up; I was failing because I wasn't trying, so much better, right?

In this time, I slept with strangers, spent all my money, ruined friendships, and so on. I was on a path of self-destruction and didn't have a clue. I came very close to suicide, at one point, and my self harm was getting pretty extreme. Then I got a boyfriend, the second boyfriend of my life. My god, was he a douchebag. He couldn't hold a part-time job and used me to no end. The one thing I really can thank alcohol for is the destruction of this relationship. I went off to a party after he fell asleep and didn't show back up until 11 the next morning. I can't remember anything past the first hour of that night. He then went out that night and cheated on me. Not long after that, I moved back home with my mom. My dad was dying of liver failure, so we all decided it would be best if I came home.

The drinking didn't stop then. It got worse. I got a job at a bar, where drinking was not just promoted; it was frowned upon if you didn't. The drunk nights started to end badly, though. Every night ended with a meltdown.

My boyfriend and I started talking again in that time. I didn't deal with it all that well, having concerns that he would just up and leave me again. I was too scared to let him get close, but I loved him so much. He's the man that all other men I know are now compared to, and none can even come close. He helped me through a lot of those bad nights, but he grew frustrated with me when he would have to work late nights and I would turn to him to make me feel better. I did manage to slow down on my drinking. I was drinking less often, but still getting blackout drunk every time I did. My depression and anxiety were at an all time high.

One night, when my father was in an unresponsive state, I decided I was going to drink that problem away. I, of course, got completely hammered, but I was actually okay. Then I went outside, and my truck was gone. I had left my keys in it and someone stole it. I went into extreme meltdown mode. I got dropped off at home, while everyone else went on the search for my truck. While they were gone, I downed a full bottle of a high dose of Xanax. I was unconscious for two days. I'm lucky that was the worst of it. You'd have thought this would have been my turning point, but it couldn't have been alcohol's fault! I did start to see a doctor after that and was put on anti-depressants. I also started seeing a therapist once a week.

My self esteem has significantly improved lately, with the help of my boyfriend (that same one I got with at 16). I've really taken a step back and seen how seriously alcohol has affected my life. My real turning point was the night of my boss' memorial, as he recently passed away. It was a huge party. I went out, started drinking at noon. I was hanging out with a couple of male friends, and my best friend at that time was extremely jealous. So she very loudly accused me of cheating on my boyfriend and told me she was going to tell him. I wasn't doing anything wrong, and I just couldn't understand why she would do this to me. It sent me into one of my meltdowns. I lost the bar phone and attempted to make the 12-mile walk home. I don't remember much of the night, but apparently, I cried hysterically in front of a ton of people and told themI was going to kill myself. I was lucky a friend of mine found me walking down the road. That was the night I really saw the damage alcohol was causing to my life.

I've relapsed a few times since then, but the progress I've made is still pretty incredible. My now fiance is the most supportive person I could ask for. He doesn't always understand it, but he tries. He's gone on forums, done his research. He still takes care of me when I screw it up.

So, I drank to cure my self esteem issues and alleviate my social anxieties. I also drank so I have an excuse to fail, you can laugh anything off over a drunk night. There it is, the major root of my drinking problem.

I'm one week sober today, and I haven't felt this great in a long time. My medication works so much better when I don't drink. My self esteem is still up and down, but overall I'm happy and sober.
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Old 06-07-2016, 10:42 PM
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Welcome sdi. A lot of us here can certainly sympathize with you about how alcohol has destroyed our lives and made us make so many foolish and dangerous choices. It's a great way to self medicate so you feel better, until you take a step back and realize it may be the most destructive medicine around.

I'm glad to hear that you're a week sober. Good on ya. Keep hanging out here, it's a wonderful place with non-judgmental, like minded people who want to reclaim their lives.
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Old 06-08-2016, 02:55 AM
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Congratulations on a week sober
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Old 06-08-2016, 06:08 AM
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Congrats on a week SDI! I think the realization that you've made is very important - that alcohol actually makes our issues worse, rather than helping as we hoped by self-medicating. And only when we remove alcohol can the healing begin for those other issues, it's great that you are seeing improvement already with your meds working better and feeling better.

I think it's also very important for us to remember that our addiction is a separate issue though...and even if we "fix" the underling issues ( whatever they may be, we all have them ) we are still addicts.
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Old 06-08-2016, 06:46 AM
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sdi, I can absolutely relate to dealing with depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem by drinking - those at the root were my reasons. I've struggled with them for 20 years, since I was a teenager. I'm only going on a month, but those feelings are the least they've ever been, being sober, even though they were issues long before the drinking began to be a problem (I was more a social drinker in my 20's, but I still think any alcohol at all probably overall negatively affected my mental health).

Keep on keeping on. I'm glad your fiancÚ is supportive, continue to be honest and transparent with him, even if it's just to say, "I thought about drinking today/I want to drink today," as cravings will come. Lean on him and yourself to ride those out, no drink will ever feel as good as coming out on the other side of a craving knowing you were strong enough not to give in to it.
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Old 06-08-2016, 02:15 PM
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Thanks everyone for actually taking the time to read through all of that. I'm trying really hard to be open on here, and it's not particularly easy for me.

I've been told by several people that I need to find the "root" of my problem, so that's what I tried to do. I understand that the addiction is a separate issue, but I think the underlying problems are my triggers to drink, so trying to sort them out will definitely help make my recovery easier.

What I'm really struggling with is this whole making a plan thing. I can find things to fill some of my days, but my schedule is pretty varying so it's not always easy. Also, I live in a small town, where the only thing to really do is go to the bar. I'm thinking of popping my head into an AA meeting this week to get a feel for it. I'm trying to keep an open mind, and I do plan on attending one, but I just get the feeling it isn't going to be for me. I know that's not a good mindset to walk in with, but everything I've read about it sounds very unappealing to me. And if I have to go listen to someone, anyone, go on about God and higher powers or whatever... I just can't. I'm ridiculous like that.
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Old 06-08-2016, 03:41 PM
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Wow - I can relate to so much of your story it's almost uncanny. I also come from a small town where the only thing people do is drink, and I too began drinking unhealthily when during my second time round going to university my first love left me.
(The difference is I'm still with the crumby second boyfriend who can't get a job and I'm 27 and only now thinking I maybe, might have a problem! So you are making better progress than me! ha )
Thank you for sharing and well done on all of your progress!
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Old 06-08-2016, 03:46 PM
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You are brave for sharing. You are young and it sounds like you have the opportunity to make a life you want. Best of luck as you go into week 2 and more!
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Old 06-08-2016, 04:53 PM
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I related a lot to your story, and I did find the root of all my problems. A little different than yours though.

It doesn't sound like popping your head into an AA meeting would do much good at the moment. AA is about connecting you with a power greater than yourself which will solve your problems. If your own power is still adequate, then you won't need any extra. The best way to find aout about AA is one on one with a recovered alcoholic who can explain it and answer your questions. You would have to go to about 50 meetings to get the same information you could gain in a couple of hours one on one. Just call the hotline if you want to do that.

You seem to have these other issues causing you to drink. Perhaps if you stop drinking and get these issues treated, the need for drinking will go away.

Radical mood swings was an issue I had, which they managed to treat to some extent but it didn't fix my drinking. That was because I was/am alcoholic. But it was worth a try. For me it was a process of elimination and I might have found something that worked at any stage.
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Old 06-08-2016, 08:50 PM
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Thanks again, everyone. Made it through day 8, and I have a lot of thanks to give to everyone here for listening and helping. I'm feeling really confident about all of this. I'm really glad a few of you could relate. It makes me feel a little less silly, really.

Well, I'm working on the not drinking thing, and it definitely helps the other problems. My motivation is back for the most part. My fear of failure is practically paralyzing sometimes, and right now I have nothing major going on that I could fail at, so that could be part of it.

Yeah, maybe I'll try to talk to someone that's gone through it, Gottalife. A lot of people on here just make me feel like I should be doing more, you know? And they're probably right, because right now, while resistance is at the forefront of my mind, I think it's almost easier. What about a month down the line, when I'm thinking that maybe I'm just fine and have nothing better to do, I make a bad decision? I definitely need something more in my life.
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Old 06-09-2016, 02:23 AM
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You're doing great. I can relate to a lot of the stuff you said , especially with the self esteem. A week sober? You're doing better than me Just keep going .
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Old 06-09-2016, 05:11 AM
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Well, what can you do? Thoroughly checking out AA one on one saved my life as it happens, but it was a small investment of time.

There are things you need to get clear for yourself. The first being: What is the problem? That might take some honest soul searching. It is not wasting time,. How can you fix something until you know what is wrong. Identifying the problem was something I had tried a few times with the professionals, but it didn't really sink in until I sat with someone else who had the same problem.

Next we need to identify a solution. Depending on the nature of the problem, you may have a range of possible solutions, or you might have only one left to try, which was my case.

Add to that the fact that at the moment you only have willpower to keep you sober, and I think you have enough on your plate.

Try to eat well, sleep well, but really, at this early stage, it is not how busy you are, but whether you are investing your time wisely.
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Old 06-10-2016, 05:04 AM
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Originally Posted by sdi9285 View Post
Thanks everyone for actually taking the time to read through all of that. I'm trying really hard to be open on here, and it's not particularly easy for me.

I've been told by several people that I need to find the "root" of my problem, so that's what I tried to do. I understand that the addiction is a separate issue, but I think the underlying problems are my triggers to drink, so trying to sort them out will definitely help make my recovery easier.

What I'm really struggling with is this whole making a plan thing. I can find things to fill some of my days, but my schedule is pretty varying so it's not always easy. Also, I live in a small town, where the only thing to really do is go to the bar. I'm thinking of popping my head into an AA meeting this week to get a feel for it. I'm trying to keep an open mind, and I do plan on attending one, but I just get the feeling it isn't going to be for me. I know that's not a good mindset to walk in with, but everything I've read about it sounds very unappealing to me. And if I have to go listen to someone, anyone, go on about God and higher powers or whatever... I just can't. I'm ridiculous like that.
I'm in the same boat as you, and have been fighting with anxiety and depression for years, and use alcohol is an unhealthy "fix" for my issues. I use to be pretty anti-aa because of the higher power thing, but I decided to look further into aa and did lots of reading, and it is pretty beneficial. The higher power can mean really whatever you want it to be, and it's not directly religious.
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