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Memory issues

Old 01-13-2017, 06:35 PM
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Memory issues

I stopped drinking over four years ago and while I was an active alcoholic I didn't really have issues remembering things and retaining information, I particularly names and conversations. I studied late and excelled at University to a Masters degree while drinking heavily. If anything I was one of those that could get utterly drunk and make a complete spectacle of myself and remember with crystal clarity every embarrassing detail the next day.
Over the last couple of years my wife and kids have remarked that my memory is getting worse. I'm learning languages on memrise and taken up guitar to exercise the brain but finding Im no way as mentally sharp as I was when I was a drinker.
In my forties and otherwise excellent health. Active alcoholic for 25 years.
Has anyone else found their memory loss may be a legacy of alcohol abuse and what have you done about it?
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Old 01-13-2017, 07:14 PM
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Hi. Your memory loss could be from alcohol use, or it could be something else, like getting older. We all forget things and repeat things as we age, to greater or lesser degrees.
Perhaps if you are worried, you should keep a diary of memory lapse events for a bit, then talk to your physician. I did this when I was experiencing headaches some years back. We were able to conclude that I was getting perimenopausal migraines and treat accordingly. I find that physicians like having hard data, like a log or diary.
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Old 01-13-2017, 07:38 PM
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Yep- that is me. I got to a doctorate level- pissed. I felt such a fraud- my only recourse was to drop out and drink even more. Now actively studying again for the first time since then. I remember doing well- so naturally think it will be the same now- nope. There is a lot of stuff on Brain Matters. Stuff like doing jigsaws (which I hate- but do) to retrain the brain. Like having a permanently injured muscle- have to compensate and relearn. It sucks- but it is way better than being drunk, dead or a vegetable.
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Old 01-13-2017, 08:03 PM
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I had periods like that even years into sobriety as well. And as others have mentioned, sometime memory loss is just a normal function of aging, Certainly alcohol can cause cognitive issues and even severe brain damage in extreme cases, but if you are learning new languages and music something must be working well up there :-)
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Old 01-14-2017, 12:46 AM
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I got a few degrees and certificates all while drinking heavily. Since I stopped I can't remember why I am responding to this. What's the subject?
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Old 01-14-2017, 03:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Done4today View Post
I got a few degrees and certificates all while drinking heavily. Since I stopped I can't remember why I am responding to this. What's the subject?
That's exactly what I'm like sometimes. Will be having a deep and meaningful with someone, lose track and then be like "was I just talking?"
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Old 01-14-2017, 03:08 AM
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Originally Posted by ScottFromWI View Post
I had periods like that even years into sobriety as well. And as others have mentioned, sometime memory loss is just a normal function of aging, Certainly alcohol can cause cognitive issues and even severe brain damage in extreme cases, but if you are learning new languages and music something must be working well up there :-)
The key word is "trying". I may hit you up for some tips on the Guitar. Just bought a...... pause..."check"....Ibanez with Humbucker, that's it.
I can't stand memory games so learning a couple of languages using this free web site seems to test memory well. https://www.memrise.com/
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Old 01-14-2017, 03:09 AM
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Originally Posted by PhoenixJ View Post
Yep- that is me. I got to a doctorate level- pissed. I felt such a fraud- my only recourse was to drop out and drink even more. Now actively studying again for the first time since then. I remember doing well- so naturally think it will be the same now- nope. There is a lot of stuff on Brain Matters. Stuff like doing jigsaws (which I hate- but do) to retrain the brain. Like having a permanently injured muscle- have to compensate and relearn. It sucks- but it is way better than being drunk, dead or a vegetable.
Hi Mate,
I noticed you have racked up something like 3700 posts in 7 months. That's quite an accomplishment!
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Old 01-14-2017, 05:42 AM
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I've had the same thoughts and have assumed it is related to aging (I'm 52).

Or, maybe during our drinking days our brains only had to function a few hours a day and could remember everything. Being sober, they're active all of the time so they can only retain part of the info that is taken in.
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Old 01-14-2017, 05:59 AM
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The way I look at it, the older you get the more information your brain has in it so we don't have room to hold as much.

We only retain the more interesting or significant things.

When I was younger, drunk or sober, my memory was so sharp. Now their are so many things I have totally forgotten and I am sometimes so forgetful in my day to day life.

I am sure alcohol abuse has hurt my memory but I think it is mostly age. I know people that never drank and are totally air headed and forgetful.
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Old 01-14-2017, 08:27 AM
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Similar experience here -- ~4 years sober with memory issues -- except that I had blackouts routinely and assume that has something to do with the deficit in my memory today.

Sometimes I wonder if my memory really is that much worse than it was, or if it's more that my awareness of the lapses is that much more heightened.
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Old 01-14-2017, 10:15 AM
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I definitely had fears about my memory and general 'sharpness' for a while when I quit. But my mental state was pretty poor towards the end of drinking.

Also...I always prided myself on intelligence and memory when I was younger....pretty much the only thing I thought I had going for me was that I was smarter than the average bear I suppose I have to remember my mind was top of its game around 22, heavy drinking impaired it for 8 years. By the time I sobered up at 30 there was some natural decline going on.

Things have improved though...the brain is very 'plastic' they say and there is some very interesting research on the noticeable changes that occur neuroimaging recovering alcoholics...new connections, activation of new areas...my brain certainly has access to types of intelligence it didn't have before. Like social intelligence, genuine compassion, delayed gratification, the ability to learn from mistakes

Keep plugging away at the guitar or other things that make you passionate...

P
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Old 01-14-2017, 10:49 AM
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When I stopped drinking I was well messed up in the brain department. But I seemed to have a good memory for the first thirty years of sobriety. Then it started to go off. There always have been big chunks of my childhood missing, but now thee are also many events in my sobriety gone as well, and my memory generally is not what it was.

I had tests for Alzheimer's which were negative, and I may be a little young for that. I think the main problem is probably residual brain damage from drinking. I do some exercises that my daughter recommended, like word puzzles but apart from that, well it is a beautiful day today, I think I'll make the most of it
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