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Old 10-15-2009, 10:16 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Perspective


So...Hello. It has taken me a long, long time to get here today. I found this site by accident, and really, that is about the only way real recovery could have started for me. For the past few months when I was coming off of a binge, I had begun to get incredible night sweats and nightmares. I was looking for answers on why this was happening, and ended up reading some of the threads here. I found myself coming back to this site again and again the past week, and I am finally ready to admit that all my countless attempts to control my drinking have failed because I have never had any sort of support system at all. I have never asked for help.

Although I am not ready to share all my "hitting the bottom stories," I want to say thank you to all the brave people who have posted theirs. I see myself and my behavior in all of them, but the one I read last night moved me to tears: it was the woman who got drunk during her 2nd pregnancy. I have never struggled harder to stay sober than my 2nd pregnancy and I really related to her challenge. For me to actually shed tears about this problem is new because I have become so terribly numb these past years.

I began drinking long before I could drive, and I could easily put down 10 shots before I left junior high. I never got sick when I drank, which facilitated this behavior. All that has changed in my 25 years of dedicated practice is that the blackouts became more regular, by behavior far more erratic and disgraceful, and the hangovers are much worse.

I chose my screen name because for me this is what drinking has come to represent (from Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) - a way to erase my memories of my past horrors. And there have been a lot of these. To quote a line from The Bravery: "The drinking never stops because the drinks absolve our sins." The bottle has become my only haven for happiness.

So I am reaching out to gain perspective of those who have travelled this path, with three pressing questions:

1) Is it possible to recover when you are in a relationship with an active alcoholic who does not want to recover? I have brought up the need to seek help at least a dozen times the past year, and my husband has no interest at all. He never admits he has a problem, and our whole relationship has been a series of parties with drinking at the core. When I am trying to quit (ie "dry drunk" a term I learned yesterday which very well categorizes all my prior efforts), he simply hides the handle of Jim Beam in a cupboard too high for me to reach, but of course I find it. I could find a bottle if blind folded in a corn maze.

2) How do you begin to find your self identity? I ask this because I simply have no idea who I am or would be if sobriety was a regular event for me. This makes me so terribly, terribly sad. I realize that my entire social life, my marriage, my sex life, my every entertainment, my every coping mechanism, and 99% of my friendships involve and are structured around drinking. I am so depressed by the idea that if I truly recover and if my husband does not, that we can not stay married. But I have to save myself, and I also have to do this for my children.

3) I have read posts on both AA and NA and I don't know where to begin. My dual addictions have become very intertwined. During college, I treated a hangover with a few bong hits and more booze. But now that I work an incredibly stressful and demanding job, that doesn't do the trick. So about 10years ago I discovered the miracle of pills. It began with Ultram, then Codeine, Lortab, Xanax, Ativan, Percocet, Lyrica...and when these made me too tired or I hadn't slept, I simply added an upper: high doses of stimulating antidepressants or whatever else I could get ie Provigil, Adderall, Meridia, Focalin...so despite having had 15 drinks and passing out for 3 hours I could get up, pop some pills, put on a suit and be at a 7 am meeting - apparently fit for work. I don't think I am addicted to the pills per se, which is to say I don't crave them, and I don't want to take more and more, but I have not had a day without swallowing something in many, many years.

Even on a sober day, I will take something just to get through the stress. So do I take one addiction at a time? Deal with both simultaneously? I don't know. And I am not confident that I can give up both at the same time. I am a few days into sobriety now, and the night sweats are lessening, but I am still taking some helpers to get through the day. And at night, all I want is some Ambien and Xanax to get the effect of passing out rather than tossing and turning for hours. (I have not given in to this idea).

Thank you to any of you who want to share your perspective on my questions.
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Old 10-15-2009, 10:28 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Normally I share my journey, but thought you might benefit from reading this lovely ladys story. She is a wonderful artist and I am in awe of her courage and perseverance.

http://www.lauracmusic.com/documents/mystory.html
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Para acceptar las cosas que no puedo cambiar
La fuerza para cambiar las que si puedo
y la Sabidura para reconocer la diferencia
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Old 10-15-2009, 10:28 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by EternalSunshine View Post
3) I have read posts on both AA and NA and I don't know where to begin. My dual addictions have become very intertwined. During college, I treated a hangover with a few bong hits and more booze. But now that I work an incredibly stressful and demanding job, that doesn't do the trick. So about 10years ago I discovered the miracle of pills. It began with Ultram, then Codeine, Lortab, Xanax, Ativan, Percocet, Lyrica...and when these made me too tired or I hadn't slept, I simply added an upper: high doses of stimulating antidepressants or whatever else I could get ie Provigil, Adderall, Meridia, Focalin...so despite having had 15 drinks and passing out for 3 hours I could get up, pop some pills, put on a suit and be at a 7 am meeting - apparently fit for work. I don't think I am addicted to the pills per se, which is to say I don't crave them, and I don't want to take more and more, but I have not had a day without swallowing something in many, many years.
I highly recommend the book The Heart of Addiction by Lance Dodes. He deals with the topic of multiple addictions. Basically, you only have one addiction, but sometimes you use alcohol and sometimes you use pills. It's very common for someone to give up a drug and simply switch his or her addiction to another one. I have an uncle who "overcame" his horrible heroin addiction by drinking and smoking weed. I don't like the AA/NA structure because they lump all the drugs together and then separate out alcohol. Addiction is addiction.
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Old 10-15-2009, 10:33 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Welcome!!!
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Old 10-15-2009, 10:37 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Love the name. Welcome.
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Old 10-15-2009, 01:00 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I can give you a couple of suggestions that may help.

1. Forget about your husband's drinking problem. That's his to deal with. You have to focus on getting yourself well. If he wants to stay an alcoholic then that's his choice. You have to start looking out for #1, and you certainly have to consider your children growing up with 2 alcoholic parents. Not good. No doubt it will be difficult trying to recover while living with an active alcoholic. But if you want to quit drinking badly enough it can be done. I would suggest that you don't criticize his drinking, however. That will just lead to a lot of animosity. Just accept the fact that he's gonna do what he's gonna do while you're gonna stop drinking.
2. Consider therapy to deal with your identity issues. If you choose to do this, be certain that your therapist is experienced in dealing with addictions. Don't fear life in sobriety, it's actually a lot better than you can imagine. And I think a therapist will help you sort out the issues you face with your husband.
3. Go to some AA meetings. The hotline number is in the phone book and manned 24/7. They'll give you directions to the nearest meeting. While you're there pick up a meeting schedule. If you've been hanging around here for a while, you've noticed that there are some good and some bad meetings. Find the good ones. As to NA meetings, I can't help you there. I know a lot of folks who come to AA meeting around here identify themselves as alcoholics and addicts but only go to AA. I'll let someone else speak for NA.
4. And finally, stop and recognize what you're doing to yourself. You have a disease that's primary, chronic, progressive, and fatal. Drinking as you described for 25 years has probably done some serious hurt to your body. Fortunately, most damage will go away once you quit drinking. If you don't stop you're looking at a mental institution at best or an early grave at worst.
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Old 10-15-2009, 01:03 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Old 10-15-2009, 01:19 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Firstly, welcome to SR!!!!
And, thanks for sharing.
I'll give the first two questions a whirl:
Quote:
1) Is it possible to recover when you are in a relationship with an active alcoholic who does not want to recover?
From stories shared here and at AA meetings, it is really not an uncommon problem at all. And, yes, I've heard many stories of people recovering with non-alcoholic partners who drink as well as alcoholic partners who drink. Do you think your husband would be willing to make some changes for you? He can and obviously will continue to drink because it is your sobriety...not his, but he should show some support for you as your partner. My husband and my older son are not alcoholics but kept (and still keep, under lock) a sizeable supply of liquor in our home.

This was a frustrating problem for me in early sobriety and it took a while for them to comply with my request to keep their liquor locked up. Now, there is a locked liquor cabinet in our livingroom and a locked refrigerator in our basement. (Combo locks: keys didn't work, I always found them.....) There were many bottles of liquor poured down the drain, many nights when I left the house angry, without cooking dinner, and said I'd come back when the liquor was gone...or, I didn't know when I would come back....many discussions, some arguments. Sigh...and a few relapses for me.

It wasn't an easy process, it took time, more time than I would have preferred, but on the other hand, my husband was not really working against me: he just didn't have a clue how difficult it is for me to have alcohol in the house. I would suggest that you have a discussion with your husband and ask him to keep his liquor locked up when you begin your sobriety. I bought a cheap cabinet, drilled holes in it, put all the liquor inside...and put a lock and chain on it. I didn't wait for him to do something about it...

Quote:
2) How do you begin to find your self identity? I ask this because I simply have no idea who I am or would be if sobriety was a regular event for me.
Your identity will come out naturally in sobriety, you really won't have to look for it! I notice you mentioned your husband again and you wonder how will things go if he continues to drink and you don't. Wow, I sure hear myself in that remark. I was worried about the same thing. One of the things I've learned in AA is to learn to avoid projecting the outcome of things, because really....we simply don't know what is going to happen, do we?
Yes, your marriage could end. Or, you might be surprised to see that your sobriety will affect him positively. My husband still drinks, but he has cut down signifigantly since I quit. I never expected that to happen...

Your third question...I'll have to leave that for those who have experience with that.
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Old 10-15-2009, 01:24 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Welcome Eternal,

You have come to the right place. I think if I had found this place I may have not had to go to rehab. My husband is still an active alcoholic who thinks AA is a cult so that was not an option for me. I am at almost 15 months sober and I do think rehab gave me a chance. I spent 8 days inpatient and about 2 months in outpatient. My job sent me and I had enough sick time to cover. My children are grown but I am starting the grandmother thing and hopefully they will never see me drunk. It can be done but you sound like you need some outside help as either an addiction counselor, AA or rehab. There is so much to learn about the disease and I think to just white knuckle it will only send you back to where you are. I was a little different in I raised my kids and then started drinking when they were adults. My son had to carry me home. I took my husbands valuim but only to treat my hangovers so I don't think I was dual addicted. I also took diet pills in my 20's and 30's but stopped them way before I started drinking. I do question how long my marriage will last but I am still hoping my husband will come around. His body is wearing out from the drinking. Good luck and keep posting.
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Old 10-15-2009, 03:03 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Welcome to SR Eternal Sunshine.

Quote:
Originally Posted by EternalSunshine View Post
I began drinking long before I could drive, and I could easily put down 10 shots before I left junior high. I never got sick when I drank, which facilitated this behavior. All that has changed in my 25 years of dedicated practice is that the blackouts became more regular, by behavior far more erratic and disgraceful, and the hangovers are much worse.

I chose my screen name because for me this is what drinking has come to represent (from Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) - a way to erase my memories of my past horrors. And there have been a lot of these. To quote a line from The Bravery: "The drinking never stops because the drinks absolve our sins." The bottle has become my only haven for happiness.
So it was for me too ES...until I needed more and more to get to 'happy' and then the bottle ceased to 'work' at all. It's a dreadful place to be.

Quote:
So I am reaching out to gain perspective of those who have travelled this path, with three pressing questions:

1) Is it possible to recover when you are in a relationship with an active alcoholic who does not want to recover? I have brought up the need to seek help at least a dozen times the past year, and my husband has no interest at all. He never admits he has a problem, and our whole relationship has been a series of parties with drinking at the core. When I am trying to quit (ie "dry drunk" a term I learned yesterday which very well categorizes all my prior efforts), he simply hides the handle of Jim Beam in a cupboard too high for me to reach, but of course I find it. I could find a bottle if blind folded in a corn maze.
As others have said here, it's something a lot of people here deal with. It's not easy, but it's possible. Our sobriety has to be for us alone - not in a selfish way but a focused one...this is your life here ES...what other people do or don't do can't come into it IMO.

Quote:
2) How do you begin to find your self identity? I ask this because I simply have no idea who I am or would be if sobriety was a regular event for me. This makes me so terribly, terribly sad. I realize that my entire social life, my marriage, my sex life, my every entertainment, my every coping mechanism, and 99% of my friendships involve and are structured around drinking. I am so depressed by the idea that if I truly recover and if my husband does not, that we can not stay married. But I have to save myself, and I also have to do this for my children.
One of the best bits of advice I ever got was stop thinking about tomorrow, next week, next month, next year. I've always done that and it dovetails nicely with alcoholism - there's always something to worry about and look for solace over.

The truth is - we can only deal with what happens today, and do that each day. As you say you have to save yourself - let that be your goal and focus for now.
Quote:
3) I have read posts on both AA and NA and I don't know where to begin. My dual addictions have become very intertwined. During college, I treated a hangover with a few bong hits and more booze. But now that I work an incredibly stressful and demanding job, that doesn't do the trick. So about 10years ago I discovered the miracle of pills. It began with Ultram, then Codeine, Lortab, Xanax, Ativan, Percocet, Lyrica...and when these made me too tired or I hadn't slept, I simply added an upper: high doses of stimulating antidepressants or whatever else I could get ie Provigil, Adderall, Meridia, Focalin...so despite having had 15 drinks and passing out for 3 hours I could get up, pop some pills, put on a suit and be at a 7 am meeting - apparently fit for work. I don't think I am addicted to the pills per se, which is to say I don't crave them, and I don't want to take more and more, but I have not had a day without swallowing something in many, many years.

Even on a sober day, I will take something just to get through the stress. So do I take one addiction at a time? Deal with both simultaneously? I don't know. And I am not confident that I can give up both at the same time. I am a few days into sobriety now, and the night sweats are lessening, but I am still taking some helpers to get through the day. And at night, all I want is some Ambien and Xanax to get the effect of passing out rather than tossing and turning for hours. (I have not given in to this idea).

Thank you to any of you who want to share your perspective on my questions.
I really think this is a question best asked of a doctor, ES

I hope these musings have helped in some way LOL.

This place has been a great support to me - I hope it will be for you too, Eternal Sunshine. Hope to see you around some more.

D
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Old 10-16-2009, 04:44 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Thank You! I will order it this afternoon.
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Old 10-16-2009, 04:48 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Thank you D74. I am someone who has not lived in the moment/for today - for a long, long time. I lived for the next party; the next time I could let everything go. So I have to change my thinking on that and take it one day at a time. Yesterday was one of the longest days of my life, but not as many nightsweats last night. It has been one solid week of these. - ES
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