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Old 08-05-2018, 11:09 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Drug-Assisted Initial Sobriety (Antabuse)


Hi all,

I've been doing pretty well and am thrilled to be sober today after almost a full month of sobriety. To give a bit of context, I have never been an everyday drinker for "maintenance", but rather have always been a binge drinker who has a hard time saying no to a drink and a hopeless time saying no to more (and more and more and more) once I drink one. I found myself trapped in a seemingly neverending pattern of long bouts of sobriety followed by 2-3 day long binges, followed by harrowing withdrawal. All in all, I would lose at least a week of my life due to these binges. At one point, it seemed I would never be able to escape from this pattern, despite how great I felt while on a sober stint.

I decided to take my doctor's advice and try Antabuse to break the cycle once and for all. I realize that this alone is not a solution, so I have also been actively engaged in recovery groups (including AA) and have been seeing a therapist. It feels great, but I am still fearful of falling back into the old pattern. I know I cannot stay on Antabuse forever (nor would I want to), and I can't help but wonder how much of my sobriety is due to the knowledge that I will become visibly ill from drinking while on this drug. It's a kind of a crutch/safety net I'm using right now to break the cycle and maintain a clear head for long enough to figure things out on a deeper level; this I know, and am rigorously pursuing the clarity/"miracle" of long-term sobriety without any medicinal supplement. There still remains, however, this lurking sense of fear that if I stop taking Antabuse, my AV will chime in and manipulate my mind to see it as an opportunity to feel intoxicated again.

Not asking for medical advice, just experience: has anyone used Antabuse to break the cycle as I am doing? Were you successful or did you find that it didn't help once you knew it was out of your system?

Any thoughts are welcome
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Old 08-05-2018, 01:44 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Antabuse doesnt stop you from drinking, you do. Also, if you want to have some time iff, you just dont take it for a couple of days......

Also, It is a VERY potent drug
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Old 08-05-2018, 01:57 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I am a proponent of using the right drugs with the right medical supervision, when appropriate.

I took Antabuse before I actually decided to quit drinking, despite all the warnings of side effects up to and including death. I am fortunate that the skipping doses, drinking on it, etc that I did only had the relatively minor side effects they did. Leg seizures, red face and spiked blood pressure, for example.

When I did finally quit for good, my dr and I discussed taking it seriously and absolutely as directed. We decided I would, and I took it for 90 days- along with campral, an anti craving med, and other appropriate psych meds. She gave me a sheaf of papers which I dated, signed, noted the time I took the Antabuse and had witnessed, every day. I kept those papers in my purse all the time.

ALL of this medicine was only appropriate as additional support for my start, complete commitment to and development of a strong AA program. No drug is a cure, right for everyone, or going to teach you how to live without alcohol.

Antabuse is hard on the liver, so my dr (and I believe most) do not like to give it for extended use. When I went back to work in the restaurant world at just shy of six months sober, we discussed whether I should take it again. I deferred to her judgment and she felt, and I agreed, that I was working such a robust AA program that I did not need it. Should a situation ever come up where it might be a good idea, I will again defer to her.

Note, I took the Campral for he first year, maybe more, of my sobriety. I am two and a half years sober now. I take a benzo as needed for anxiety, recently quit all sleeping meds, and we adjust my other meds if/as needed. I see my psych for therapy and meds discussion every two months as if this time.
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Old 08-05-2018, 03:04 PM   #4 (permalink)
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You can never have too many allies on your side when it comes to sobriety, and antibuse can be a great deterrent to keep you away from any dumb actions.
Also that's great to hear you've already got a solid plan in place with seeing a therapist and going to AA!
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Old 08-05-2018, 04:02 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Thank you for these responses! I read up on Antabuse extensively before taking it and found a very diverse range of reviews. As with any drug, it absolutely must be taken precisely as directed, which does indeed include a program of sobriety and some kind of treatment, whether outpatient or therapy or both. As I mentioned, I'm mainly using it to break the cycle. By this I mean to get enough sober time by any means necessary that I can hopefully think outside the vicious trap of drinking to forget drinking.

I would definitely not underestimate the potency of this drug, as I know several people who drank on it and had awful side effects, including mimicking alcohol withdrawal so severe she was put in the ICU for almost a week. As it is, I've unknowingly eaten a few things that had trace amounts of alcohol (soy sauce, for example) and have gotten the uncomfortable red flushing in the face and neck. It's certainly nothing to mess around with.

Thanks again for being so forthcoming!
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Old 08-06-2018, 08:23 PM   #6 (permalink)
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If it wasn't for naltrexone I doubt very much I would be alive now.

This combined with aa and counselling has been invaluable to my sobriety

So yeah I believe in medication assisted recovery because it saved my life

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