A Question from a Newbie

Old 05-22-2021, 01:15 PM
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Location: Nottingham, UK
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A Question from a Newbie

Hey Everyone
I only joined this forum today but already it's given me cause to think about my lifestyle and given me hope.

I'm seriously considering giving up drinking but would like some advice from you wonderful people.

You see I know that there are 2 main triggers that cause me to drink in excess; namely anxiety and boredom. Well I've been thinking if I could somehow replace drinking with something non harming that would help with those 2 things and I might just be able to beat this. But... what?! Re the anxiety I have been thinking about CBD. Anyone tried that? Re boredom I used to be fit (run 10ks, go to the gym etc but now partly due to drinking I've put on weight and don't do either any more). But any suggestions are welcome.

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Old 05-22-2021, 01:36 PM
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Def start doing those things you used to do, see if you still like them. Fake it until you make it for a month, regarding activity.

I remember as a runner I wasn’t ALWAYS excited to start a run, but I sure was exhilarated and pumped when I was done.

As a professional, cannot speak to CBD, if I used, I’d lose my license.
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Old 05-22-2021, 02:48 PM
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'I remember as a runner I wasn’t ALWAYS excited to start a run, but I sure was exhilarated and pumped when I was done.'

So true my friend! Even though it happened many times I was always surprised how I could start a run being tired and de-motivated and end it with so much energy! It's like our bodies go into 'modes'. Like I'd start running and my body would be like 'okay! You need to wake up! Be alert. Burn fat, release energy.'. And I'd end the run with more energy than I started with; which didn't make much sense to me. I'd assume using energy would mean you'd have less after!
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Old 05-22-2021, 05:34 PM
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I've been addicted to marijuana so I have no experience to share with CBD except to say to a fellow alcoholic, avoid addictive things - be careful and make sure whats in the stuff.

For me exercise and breathing exercises have helped my anxiety a great deal,. Maybe the beta blockers I take for another ailment help a little too, but I credit the exercise/breathing more. (Breathing Techniques) (3 Anxiety breathing techniqes)

as for being bored - when I equated fun with a bottle it was difficult to find things to do- when you break that association I bet you'll remember all kinds of things hobbies and interests you used to do that don't need alcohol to be fun and boredom busting
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Old 05-23-2021, 10:24 AM
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I know you feel like your anxiety needs some kind of "medicine" but that is most likely not true.

I would not get started on CBD. As a matter of fact I'm extremely careful not to take any mood enhancing or mood altering drugs other than caffeine - a cup of coffee in the morning and one cup of tea in the afternoon. That's it.

I had nearly crippling anxiety for a big portion of my life which I was drinking to self-medicate. At one time I was on five different prescriptions to try to manage it and I tried other prescriptions over the years like various benzos, antidepressants, beta blockers, depakote, adderall. Every year it seemed some doctor was giving me a new diagnosis and a new pill.

After a few months completely abstinent from alcohol (and no other prescriptions, either) that intense anxiety disappeared. I'm very glad I didn't have to figure out how to stop CBD, too.

I'm med free and handling life just fine: everything works as designed. Alcohol was the cure (in my weird and inebriated/addicted thought processes) but it was also the cause.
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Old 05-23-2021, 11:13 AM
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I struggle with anxiety, too. When it's a problem, I always give myself a grounding moment. You find 5 things you can see, 4 you can touch, 3 you can hear, 2 you can smell, and 1 emotion you feel. This (at least in my case) reminds me that the things around me are concrete and not changing all that much in this very moment so you can feel a little more at peace with your surroundings.

Take a Time-Out. Try some yoga, listen to music, meditate, get a massage or learn relaxation techniques. Stepping back from the problem can help clear your head.

Eat well-balanced meals. Do not skip any meals. Keep healthful, energy-boosting snacks on hand. Limit caffeine.

Get enough sleep/rest. Exercise daily to help you feel good and maintain your health. Use an iPod or exercise buddy to help you stick to your routine.

Take deep breaths. Inhale and exhale slowly. Belly-Breathing: Sit comfortably with shoulders, head and neck relaxed. Breath in slowly through your nose so that your stomach expands. Tighten stomach muscles, letting them fall inward as you exhale slowly through your mouth.

Do your best. Instead of aiming for perfection, which isn’t possible, be proud of however close you get.

Accept that you cannot control everything. Put your stress in perspective: Is it really as bad as you think?

Welcome humour. A good laugh goes a long way.

Maintain a positive attitude. Make an effort to replace negative thoughts with positive ones.

Get involved. Volunteer or find another way to be active in your community, which creates a support network and gives you a break from everyday stress.

Learn what triggers your anxiety. Is it work, family, school or something else you can’t identify? Write in a journal when you’re feeling stressed. Look for a pattern.

Talk to someone. Tell friends/family you’re feeling overwhelmed and let them know how they can help. Talk to a professional.

There are some great books to help you deal with anxiety without medication:

Amen, Daniel Change Your Brain, Change Your Life
Bassett, Lucinda From Panic to Power
Burns, David MD When Panic Attacks
Chodron, Pema The Places that Scare You
Doidge, Norman MD The Brain that Changes Itself
Dyer, Wayne Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life
Orsilla, Ken Mindful Way Through Anxiety
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Old 05-23-2021, 11:16 AM
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That's such a good post, Anna.
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Old 05-24-2021, 08:11 AM
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Welcome and lots of great advice here already Jase. I also dealt with Anxiety all of my life and used Alcohol as a failed self medication for many years. I personally don't feel that there is anything that you can "replace" drinking with - as it is really not even the substance itself that was the problem for me. The reason I say that is because in large part my drinking was used as an attempt to escape/run away from things that I really needed to face head on. So essentially, what needed to happen was that I needed to change myself and learn how to face these hard things that I need to face - and there was no activity or "safer" substance I could take that would do that work for me.

On the anxiety front, that meant making a plan to both accept and treat it. I used counseling, meditation/mindfulness, exercise, diet change, and even tried a couple of meds. It took quite a while but I now have a much better grasp on it and day to day it's barely noticeable or manageable.

On the drinking front, I also needed to address the fact that I was indeed an addict - and there are a whole plethora of ways to go about that - formal recovery groups, self paced, rehab, etc. The type plan itself is not nearly as important as making sure you commit to it. Some people ( me included ) use SR itself as their primary recovery group.

Regarding boredom - remember that it is really just a perception, not a physical state of the world. As addicts we tend to crave instant gratification on all fronts, and in some sense the world itself promotes constant stimulation via hand held devices and perpetual connectivity. It's a problem for everyone, not just addicts. I think it's even worse for those of us with Anxiety - but I think Mindfulness and Meditation can play a very big part. Learning to become self aware and let the world slow down around you is a tenet of Meditation, and it really can work.
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Old 05-24-2021, 08:24 AM
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I have come to believe there is such a thing as a "real alcoholic" who can only stay sober by completely submitting to the recovery program of Alcoholics Anonymous. That proposition triggers a lot of people, but that alone doesn't make the proposition true or false. For newcomers who have been led to the point where drinking is causing them enough problems that they are contemplating quitting, I merely suggest they file away for possible future reference the possibility that they might not be able to quit outside A.A. In terms of substitutes for drinking, the Big Book of A.A. says:

We have shown how we got out from under. You say, “Yes, I’m willing. But am I to be consigned to a life where I shall be stupid, boring and glum, like some righteous people I see? I know I must get along without liquor, but how can I? Have you a sufficient substitute?” Yes, there is a substitute and it is vastly more than that. It is a fellowship in Alcoholics Anonymous. There you will find release from care, boredom and worry. Your imagination will be fired. Life will mean something at last. The most satisfactory years of your existence lie ahead. Thus we find the fellowship, and so will you.

Feel free to PM me if you want to chat more about any of that.

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