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Alcoholism vs. Despair

Old 07-30-2018, 10:47 AM
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Alcoholism vs. Despair

I am tired of my drinking issue so I am posting here. I resent how hard and difficult my adult life has been and its my own problem. My job is some low paying dead end office job. I have no friends despite trying and am estranged from all family. Drinking has been a way to cope when I have had breakdowns and the inevitable life disasters.

I want to quit my drinking but I am equally exhausted by the pathetic lack of progress I've made in my life which makes me despair and wonder if life is worth living. This is not a mental illness, these are my feelings, having feelings is not a mental illness - that was another nice little trick life played on me.

I don't know if soberity is worth it. I would like to clean up but it's been a long time and it would be another hard lonely battle. No one is coming to save me, and I wouldn't expect help anyway. I'm just confused, life is so barely worth living that life in a bottle draws me back easily. My luck isn't changing any time soon so why try.

I'm sick of it. Sick of the loss, waste, pain, grief and wilderness of life and destruction. I have up seeing myself in the mirror a long time ago. I just can't wait to get another round of being told to pull up the boot straps by people living on easy street. Tell me again that only I can change things and to start taking responsibility. Why am I even trying when I know what people will say.
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Old 07-30-2018, 11:40 AM
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Well, I totally relate. Feelings aren't mental illness. I think we are very quick to diagnose ourselves....the whole Dr. Google thing. It has also been my experience that diagnosing any true mental illness when an addict/alcoholic is actively using is very hard. I mean, I'm certifiably insane when I drink so pretty much have to get a few months sober to really even get a baseline. That's the trick right? But it starts somewhere...one right action at a time. And for me that was quitting.

I had to untangle my abstinence from all the 'causes and conditions' and 'contingency' clauses. I can actually be miserable and not drink. Who knew? Now that sounds depressing, I get that. And of course the ultimate goal is not to stay miserable, right? But alcohol is a central nervous system depressant....so misery is kind of it's trademark, ya know?

I needed help to stop...in the form of rehab and medical detox. I invite you to do whatever you have to to stop and stay stopped. Drs can really help with that. Then go about the business of learning to cope and develop new ways of dealing with life and those pesky feelings. But unfortunately there is no magic way over it or under it. Only the reality of going through it. Its worth it tho. It really is. Doesn't mean life is easy, hell no. Life can be really hard. But the logic that drinking helps life? That's just a lie.
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Old 07-30-2018, 12:15 PM
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We, here, aren't coming to save you but, if you want, we are here to help you. Reach up, we'll grab your hand and we'll get you out of that hole. There is real friendship and caring here. C'mon. Keep posting, keep reading. We'll keep on, too.
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Old 07-30-2018, 12:41 PM
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The very wise head of my IOP rehab group used to give weekly lectures. One of my big takeaways was his theory (he's a hugely respected academic BTW) that many times the reasons why we drink or use is to escape pain and trauma, discomfort, anxiety, depression, etc.

When you stop, you lose your coping mechanism (your drug of choice) but you still have the discomfort, misery, etc. that you were trying to escape.

I found this to be very true. I had a lot of life issues that caused some of the problems that you have, especially the dead-end job and having far less money that I should given my intelligence, education, experience, etc. But there were other issues as well, like denying myself sexual/relationship connections due to internalized homophobia, fear of rejection...etc. etc. etc.

Dr. Schiffman's take was that being abstinent but not dealing with the underlying issues was an extremely difficult place to live...which explains the huge relapse rates among addicts of any kind, definitely including alcoholics. The program itself was dual diagnosis, I knew I had to deal with my bipolar disorder, but everyone had a secondary diagnosis. Beyond that the doc felt that some sort of psychodynamic therapy was also useful.

I did everything I could to be sure I got and stayed sober and didn't have to go through medical detox and rehab again, so I took all of this very seriously. I went back on my bipolar medication cocktail (since modified and dosage decreased), and started psychotherapy with a fantastic counselor who is helping me through a lot of life issues and old "tapes" that need to be rewound and re-recorded. It starts with a bit of causation (Dad issues, mom issues, complex trauma) but that really isn't the point. We work to identify behaviors, change them, and find new ones. It's working. I've been sober for almost 15 months and I'm FINALLY tackling trauma that has plagued me for my entire life. I'm dating and started a whole new career at 57, and I've never been happier.

This has taken a lot of work and persistence, but it paid off. Had I just stopped drinking and doing cocaine, I would be miserable and probably would have gone back to using by now.

It doesn't have to be pathologized into a diagnosis like "depression," but something clearly wasn't working in my life. Taking away the ability to numb with booze and drugs forced me to face other stuff....but I couldn't have done that alone. Of course everyone is different, but in my experience once I got sober to the point that it was pretty secure using whatever methods work, I was able to move onto the causes of why I drank and address and fix them. I did it through medication, cognitive and psychodynamic therapies, and believe that some do it through 12 Step programs if they have a lot of insight and a really good and trustworthy sponsor. Rational Recovery offers a lot of cognitive tools to deal with anxiety and depression with or without medication. Church groups, Buddhism, spiritual growth through Christ or whatever flavor appeals to you. SOMETHING larger and involving a group.

Cutting the substance is a hugely important step, but it's only the beginning. Personally, I didn't get sober to be miserable, I got sober to have a fantastic life. And so far, I'm definitely headed in that direction.
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Old 07-30-2018, 02:17 PM
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Alcoholism is a mental illness and depression is often part of it. It's impossible to see how much better your life can be when you're in depression and active alcoholism. So many of us found our lives vastly improved with sobriety. Hey, you only have one life and I promise it can be a whole lot better if you find a program and tackle this head on.
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Old 07-30-2018, 02:39 PM
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My experience has many similarities to Mindful's eloquent share.

I will just add that life on the other side terrified me but I finally decided I did not want to die, and getting sober to deal with what my issues (were) are was the besting I have ever done.
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Old 07-30-2018, 04:50 PM
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Hi and welcome

I had no idea what sober life would be like or what it offered.

I didn't spring our of bed one morning sober with all the problems in my life solved - but I did find that sobriety gave me a consistency of emotions, and the motivation, from which to work on those problems.

I re-discovered the real me - someone I'd forgotten.

I still have bad days sober - but they stay just that - bad days , not weeks months years or decades like they used to be.

Sobriety's not a miracle change, but it was still miraculous to me, y'know?

I'm at peace and I love my life and who I am.
I could never say that as a drinker.

I don't regret getting sober and I wish I'd done it sooner

Hope to see you around some more

D
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Old 07-30-2018, 05:08 PM
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I am so sorry that you are feeling hopeless and that you think there’s no reason to quit drinking. I think there have been words of wisdom spoken here. I would just add that turning your life around will take time and effort, both of which you can’t afford when you drink and when you’re sick. Thinking more clearly and living without hangovers has to be better than your present state.
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Old 07-30-2018, 05:18 PM
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I feel like I can relate 100% to this choice you are facing. There's no guarantee that life will be rosy if you stop drinking, but there's an excellent chance that it will get worse if you don't. Could being sober actually be worse than what you are living now? It's a serious question - one that finally helped me to give it a go.

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Old 07-30-2018, 07:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Chryst View Post
I am tired of my drinking issue so I am posting here. I resent how hard and difficult my adult life has been and its my own problem. My job is some low paying dead end office job. I have no friends despite trying and am estranged from all family. Drinking has been a way to cope when I have had breakdowns and the inevitable life disasters.

I want to quit my drinking but I am equally exhausted by the pathetic lack of progress I've made in my life which makes me despair and wonder if life is worth living. This is not a mental illness, these are my feelings, having feelings is not a mental illness - that was another nice little trick life played on me.

I don't know if soberity is worth it. I would like to clean up but it's been a long time and it would be another hard lonely battle. No one is coming to save me, and I wouldn't expect help anyway. I'm just confused, life is so barely worth living that life in a bottle draws me back easily. My luck isn't changing any time soon so why try.

I'm sick of it. Sick of the loss, waste, pain, grief and wilderness of life and destruction. I have up seeing myself in the mirror a long time ago. I just can't wait to get another round of being told to pull up the boot straps by people living on easy street. Tell me again that only I can change things and to start taking responsibility. Why am I even trying when I know what people will say.
Ditto. That was me. I stopped drinking at the age of 35 and realized my life was mess especially with regards to employment.

However, I could now start digging myself out of the hole I found myself in because of ogoing problems/drama associated with my drinking stopped.

If nothing else I no longer felt crummy in the morning and/or burned out during the day.

I never realized how much my drinking affected my health until I stopped. It's one thing to get hammered every night while in your 20's but after 30 it had become harder. I couldn't bounce back. Sometimes I felt burned out the entire day or until I got a few drinks in me.

Just going to sleep at night and waking up in the morning feeling somewhat refreshed was a major plus in early sobriety.

Good luck.

P.s. I also liked to blame others for my failures in life. But after getting sober I realized it didn't matter if I was right or wrong. All that matter was what I was going to do to try and change things.
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Old 07-31-2018, 03:06 AM
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One thing to remember is that the bleakness of a drinker's despair is colored and shaped by our lying brains, damaged things that often want nothing more than the comfort and familiarity of endless alcohol.
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Old 07-31-2018, 03:29 AM
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Originally Posted by SnazzyDresser View Post
One thing to remember is that the bleakness of a drinker's despair is colored and shaped by our lying brains, damaged things that often want nothing more than the comfort and familiarity of endless alcohol.
In my case, my emotions and mental state was "numbed over" from the constant heavy drinking. It wasn't until I was sober a bit did I realize there may have been some mental health issues that were hereditary. I am in the process of getting help with this.

To say that sobriety is a journey, not a destination is an understatement!
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Old 07-31-2018, 06:48 PM
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When I got sober I also found self-esteem because the focus of my life became self-improvement instead of self-destructiveness. Plus, I wasn't restored to sanity, I was introduced to sanity. What do you have to loose?
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Old 08-01-2018, 09:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Chryst View Post
I am tired of my drinking issue so I am posting here. I resent how hard and difficult my adult life has been and its my own problem. My job is some low paying dead end office job. I have no friends despite trying and am estranged from all family. Drinking has been a way to cope when I have had breakdowns and the inevitable life disasters.

I want to quit my drinking but I am equally exhausted by the pathetic lack of progress I've made in my life which makes me despair and wonder if life is worth living. This is not a mental illness, these are my feelings, having feelings is not a mental illness - that was another nice little trick life played on me.

I don't know if soberity is worth it. I would like to clean up but it's been a long time and it would be another hard lonely battle. No one is coming to save me, and I wouldn't expect help anyway. I'm just confused, life is so barely worth living that life in a bottle draws me back easily. My luck isn't changing any time soon so why try.

I'm sick of it. Sick of the loss, waste, pain, grief and wilderness of life and destruction. I have up seeing myself in the mirror a long time ago. I just can't wait to get another round of being told to pull up the boot straps by people living on easy street. Tell me again that only I can change things and to start taking responsibility. Why am I even trying when I know what people will say.
I'm with you, totally. Lonliness is a killer. Scientists are only recently figuring out how debilitating lonliness is. But it seems like it's easier to approach things if you break them down, and you've very eloquently pinpointed lonliness as a primary fuel for your drinking. I suffer from it too. And I'm not sure what to tell you.

At this point, I'm thinking about rereading a book I read in college. It's called "Man's Search for Meaning" by Viktor Frankl. He was a psychiatrist who did time in a concentration camp. Heck, as hopeless as we feel, this guy might have something to tell us... I just wish I could remember what it was.
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Old 08-01-2018, 09:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Chryst
My luck isn't changing any time soon so why try.
Your luck isn't changing anytime soon, so why NOT try? That's really the question.

P.S. Drinking is not helping you cope. I used to say that too, except the reality is that alcohol exacerbates despair and actually led to my suicide attempt. So much for "coping".
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Old 08-02-2018, 12:12 AM
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Sorry youre so tired of it all Chryst, but glad that you're reading and posting here.

I came here full of resentments about life as well. Work, friendships, family relationships, past abuse, financial struggles, etc. Man, surely anykne would drink with all that to deal with!! If only my life were different, THEN i could stop drinking. Drinking was my to get some relief from the despair and those horrible feelings and thoughts that I just couldn't seem to get free from. Alcohol was like an invisible comfort blanket to me, but much like any kids comfort blanket it never really solved problems it just contributed to them. Alcohol is cunning and baffling. It tells us that it makes our life bearable, but actually stops us from enjoying life and fully participating in it, making us feel and believe that things are imposible and that we are worthless. Like you,I got to the stage where I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. Life just didnt seem worth the effort of living. This is alcoholism. And one of the things I learned fairly quickly is to stop trusting my 'feelings'. Just because I felt something, did not make it so. Life wasn't my trickster. My own addictive thinking was!

None of us come here, or to AA or to rehab KNOWING that soberity would worth it. How could we? For most of us we'd been living with alcohol (or whatever our drug of choice was) for so long - for me, all of my teens and adult life ro some degree. BUT, ( and this is where the talk of rock bottoms comes in) most of us had got to the stage where we equally didn't feel that we could keep going as we were. We were, like you, sick and tired or being sick and tired. We had been given the gift of desperation. Some people had even already tried to kill themselves (I know of plenty) but it hadn't worked. I had thought about it and decided I'd give sobriety 6 months then, if that didn't work, then I'd reconsider that option. But I just couldn't carry on the way I had been.

I will concede that it was hard being sober at first. Drinking was the only trick ulmy sleeve for dealing with my thoughts and emotions, so I needed to learn new ones. I was also very lonely at first. Until I reached out on here, and then, one month in (when i thought i was going insane with it all) I went along to AA. I since heard a saying that 'connection is the opposite of addiction' and I do find that's true. I think I connect with far more people on this sobriety and recovery journey than ever before. And those people, some of them have been on this journey a long, long time. They've got other tricks up their sleeve to deal with all those thoughts and feelings, and they're more than willing to pass them along. Because we're all on this journey together. And what they tell me when I am weak, and they are strong, they're less likely to forget on the day they need it themselves.

You are right when you say that no one is coming to save you, BUT, that doesn't mean that help isn't there for you. No doubt if you googled AA meetings in your area there would be one you could attend very soon. No need to register, or phone ahead, or talk to anyone. You can just rock up and take a seat and listen in.

You say that its confusing that 'life is so barely worth living that life in a bottle draws me back easily'. That,s typucal alcoholic thinking. As is that voice in your head that tells you that your luck isn't changing any time soon so why even try.

Thing is, there is also that other part of your thinking. The YOU in there that is sick of the loss, waste, pain, grief and wilderness of life and destruction. The YOU in there who feels the loss of self and your integrity, and who longs to find the joy and pleasure that IS there in life. That voice, in the disconnect of alcoholism,may only be very small at the moment, but it is still there. It brought you here, so there IS hope.
You're also right when you say that it need you to make a decision and take action for things to change. I knew things / I would have to change when I finally (after a good long time trying to avoid such a drastic decision) got sober. But I didn't know how. And that's where others can and will help, if you let them. Here, like in any AA meeting, everyone is on the same journey, and we remember how hard but vital those first steps are. How uphill. How dark. And how fearful. Please do give yourself the gift of sobriety. And please, please reach out and let others help you. It makes all the difference.

Wishing you all the best for your sobriety and recovery.
BB
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Old 08-02-2018, 05:05 AM
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Originally Posted by soberlicious View Post
P.S. Drinking is not helping you cope. I used to say that too, except the reality is that alcohol exacerbates despair and actually led to my suicide attempt. So much for "coping".
There is a misconception among us that alcohol helps "take the edge off" the tough parts of life. It also takes the "edge" off the great and positive things in life as well. Its a double-edged sword.

I'll give an example: I used to dread Mondays. Now I look forward to Mondays as any other day of the week. I sued to hate winter. Now that I enjoy gardening (something I found when I got sober), I look forward to winter as a time to reflect on the previous season, but to plan for the following spring. I used to hate family gatherings. Now I almost look forward to them... almost (there always that one brother-in-law!).
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Old 08-02-2018, 07:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Chryst View Post
Why am I even trying when I know what people will say.
Because you are human. And because deep inside you there is a part of you that knows what the right thing to do is.

It won't be easy, and you are right - no one can come an rescue/save/cure you. You have to do the work -and you won't like a lot of it. But you can do it - just like lots of others here and elsewhere have done.

On a practial note of course, alcohol is a central nervous system depressant. So whether you like it or not, drinking makes us depressed - that's a fact. So getting alcohol out of your system is a prerequisite to help improve the other areas of our lives. My main issue that I tried to hide from was actually anxiety. I couldn't fix that until I stopped drinking, and also until I accepted that it was a separate/distinct problem. AKA - cessation of drinking does not fix the underlying issues....but you can't fix them until you stop either.
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Old 08-02-2018, 08:59 AM
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I think an opposite of despair is ambition. I'll give an example:

When I drank, my days just drug along. Quitting time couldn't come fast enough. I'd look at the clock and it would be 12 noon. And I was like, "seriously, will this day ever end??"

Now its more like, "its noontime already?! Where did the day go?!"
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