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Old 01-05-2010, 07:57 AM
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advice PLEASE

Hi there
Looking for some motivation to stop drinking.
My story in brief
I have drank since I was 14. My social life involves wine and lots of it.
Wow we have had some great times.
I love alcohol.
I have a great social life,enjoyable career, great relationships, great family/kids and should be in my prime. I am successful and an intellegent likeable woman (so they say ).
A few years ago a health problem highlighted problems with my liver function, Multitude of tests revealed no clear diagnosis. I was told in Aug to quit alcohol and I did for 6 long weeks. I would love to say I felt great but I did not, I missed my drink!. A demotivator was my blood results did not get better with abstenance.

I am now back drinking again despite have 3 health conditions that state I shouldn't. Over the years my tolerance has increased and my overall consupmtion with it.

This made me realise how dependant I am on it. I crave a drink on my return from work every evening. I even want a drink when I am ill. I drink to celebrate and sypathise. I drink to drown my sorrows and to count my blessings. I drink to cure a hangover. I reward myself with drink. I drink because life is too short. I drink because I am happy and because I am sad. I drink. You get the idea!!

Having worked professionally in this field (psychology) I am relectant to seek help. I know and preach all the theories about behaviour change. I am too embarssed by the stigma to seek support.
Can I or should i stop all together OR cut down? Tried both too hard
The thought of a life without alcohol seems one boring life.A long dry road into a social desert i do not want to go down.
Sure I have done the odd thing I regret when drunk in the past (i.e.sex) but I have never had any blackouts or humiliating experiences. Alcohol has honestly given me more joy and fun than problems.
I know however if I carry on drinking my health will be seriously effected and the docs have told me to quit completely.
Any ideas?
Anyone relate to my situation
Thanks for listening/reading guys
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Old 01-05-2010, 08:10 AM
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Hi

Welcome to SR... health reasons seem like a pretty big motivator to stop... i mean if you dont have your health... you wont be able to do all those things you enjoy and describe...

I did have the blackouts and lots of regret so that was my motivator... plus just plain old stubborness that i could stop...

Life is abit gloomy to start... but then things do get better and i can do all the things/socialising you talk about... its still new to me so i am not great at it... i needed drink to be around people... i am just starting to be around people and trust them...

You sound like a smart person... what do you think is a good motivator?

And why are you finding it so miserable to stop... what does that tell you?

Just questions... no offense meant...

Welcome again and take care
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Old 01-05-2010, 08:23 AM
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Hi and Welcome....

I certainly hope you will take your doctors advice
I did and started AA recovery the next day...

AA=Awesome Adventures in living for me.
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Old 01-05-2010, 08:28 AM
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Just food for thought: my husband's late wife, the biological mother of two of my sons, was told that her drinking had affected her liver. She didn't quit. She was then told that she'd have to be two years abstinent to be considered for a liver transplant. She didn't quit. Two years later, she climbed into the urn that sits on top of my piano and a few years later, I became the only living mother to two heartbroken young men.

Peace & Love,
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Old 01-05-2010, 08:30 AM
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Daphne it sounds like you may not be ready to quit yet, maybe you are. Why not go and sit in on some open AA meetings, see if you don't relate to some of the things that are spoken of there. It can not hurt and it is anonymous after all.
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Old 01-05-2010, 08:33 AM
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Originally Posted by louis View Post
Hi

Welcome to SR... health reasons seem like a pretty big motivator to stop... i mean if you dont have your health... you wont be able to do all those things you enjoy and describe...

I did have the blackouts and lots of regret so that was my motivator... plus just plain old stubborness that i could stop...

Life is abit gloomy to start... but then things do get better and i can do all the things/socialising you talk about... its still new to me so i am not great at it... i needed drink to be around people... i am just starting to be around people and trust them...

You sound like a smart person... what do you think is a good motivator?

And why are you finding it so miserable to stop... what does that tell you?

Just questions... no offense meant...

Welcome again and take care
Hi there
Thanks for reading and responding
What does it tell me that I am finding it so miserable to stop?
That alcohol is an integral part of my life and culture and has been for 30 years. That I am extremely dependant on it, strange as very independant in all other aspects of my life!

Clearly my health is not a strong enough motivator yet
I am not sure WHAT would motivate me? maybe if alcohol made my life **** and I could not function, lost those dear to me etc ? not sure
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Old 01-05-2010, 08:39 AM
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Hi there
the fear of dying should motivate me but maybe i am in denial there? Tell myself it will never be that bad and we all die sometime/how
As for AA meeting OMG never ever ever could I do that I would find it too embarassing and fear I would meet someone i know! Anyway I suppose I don't view myself as "alcoholic" but alcohol depedant . Is there a difference I think so but you may disagree?
Not sure the label addict/alcoholic is useful as associations with "illness" and disease rather than alcohol being a learned behaviour /lifestyle choice
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Old 01-05-2010, 08:51 AM
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Hi...

then what about unlearning the behaviour... smart has good tools to help with that?

Can i ask... are you scared?...

You say you are very dependant on alcohol and independant in all otehr aspects of you life... could it be that you need alcohol to be independant in those other aspects and that if you stopped using alcohol the you might not be as independant/able to cope with those aspects of you life?

Please dont think i am judging or getting at you... im just tryng to understand..
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Old 01-05-2010, 08:52 AM
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Originally Posted by daphne View Post
Not sure the label addict/alcoholic is useful as associations with "illness" and disease rather than alcohol being a learned behaviour /lifestyle choice
Hmm... is it a choice for you?

Welcome to SR!!

Mark
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Old 01-05-2010, 09:09 AM
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Also i did look up the differnce between alcohol dependence and alcoholism and they generally say... alcoholism is the dependence of alcohol
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Old 01-05-2010, 09:24 AM
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Who or what runs your life today?

Do you derive enjoyment from it?

One of the primary symptoms of alcoholism is a denial of a problem.

Another symptom is the inability to see realistically how alcohol is affecting ones very being?

You know I read your first post and I see a great deal of myself when I was drinking, I was scared to death of not drinking because drinking was my solution for every thing!

I reached a point where my solution of drinking started to not work any more.

I drank even though I did not want to, I had to drink in order to function and through the cloud of my drinking I felt as though all was well even though things were beginning to fall apart all around me.

I wanted to quit but I could not because the world began to collapse around me as reality began to emerge from the fog of my drinking and I had no solution except alcohol to "FIX" things.

I got sober by finding a solution for life that did not involve drinking, I found that solution in AA.
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Old 01-05-2010, 09:38 AM
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We get sober when our desire to be sober is stronger than our desire to drink and we are willing to go to ANY length to get that. It doesn't appear you are there yet, but we are here to support you along the way. Best wishes and we will be here on SR to support you.
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Old 01-05-2010, 09:39 AM
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I'm probably to new to be giving much feedback, but if -as you said - you're seeking simple motivation, you might try reading the book, Under the Influence. I just got it from the library and - wow!- it's pretty explicit regarding the actual damage alcohol can do to our bodies, and what can happen to us down the road.
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Old 01-05-2010, 09:54 AM
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As for AA meeting OMG never ever ever could I do that I would find it too embarassing and fear I would meet someone i know!
You I kind of laugh every time I see that kind of statement, I was the exact same way even though I had the nick name of "The one armed man" in my neighborhood because no one ever saw me with out a cold one in my hand.

I got tired of being a DRUNK, I reached the point where I did not give a damn what anyone thought about me or said about me as long as they did not think of me or say I was a DRUNK.

Which would you rather be known as, That lady who always has booze on her breath and is drunk a lot, or a recovering alcoholic who attends AA.
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Old 01-05-2010, 09:58 AM
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You have a decision to make. Either give up and continue to drink or figure out a way to quit or moderate. Six weeks is a relatively short period considering you have been drinking for years and is is ver ingrained in your MO. Most people need about six months before new behaviors gain real traction and become part of your MO and not a forced behavior.

As to working in the field of psychology... Do you have anyone you can trust who would be for support. How about family and other friends? Don't fixate on "stigma", but rather what is best for you and what you really want. If you choose to continue drinking, no worries. It really is a decision. Some good old fashioned AA may work for you as well. My guess is that to change you need a couple months of focused work to change your old behavior patterns. Find other activities that you think you will/might enjoy and commit to them for a period of time. Focus/meditate on the positive things that will happen if you do manage sustained abstinance for a while. Read and post here. You can make it work it may not be easy, but it can be done. Do you best to call yurself out on rationalization to continue use. "stigma" sets off my bs detector big time. Those involved in psychiatry (especially those who focus on addiction) know that addiction is difficult to overcome, involves alot of rationalization on your part and will not hold it against you. Best of luck. I'm in month six now and just starting to feel really good being around peoply at parties where alcohol is served. I feel loose and in the moment and have fun without faking it. I've finally really realized through experience that "needing" a drink to have fun was a complete and utter lie to my self (rationalization fueled by denial). You can pick your own bottom; you don't have to, but you can.
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Old 01-05-2010, 10:09 AM
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Your story is much like mine.

Originally Posted by daphne View Post
I have a great social life,enjoyable career, great relationships, great family/kids and should be in my prime. I am successful and an intellegent likeable woman (so they say ).
I have a great job that I love, a great husband and children as well. I graduated from college with a bachelor of arts degree and even made the National Dean's list. It all looked so perfect on the outside. But I had a dark secret: I was an alcoholic.

Originally Posted by daphne View Post
A few years ago a health problem highlighted problems with my liver function, Multitude of tests revealed no clear diagnosis. I was told in Aug to quit alcohol and I did for 6 long weeks. I would love to say I felt great but I did not, I missed my drink!.)
Of course you missed your drink. It is both your best friend and your worst enemy. I have been on medication for a variety of psychological problems since I was 18. I regularly have to go for bloodwork to make sure the medication isn't affecting my liver. Sure enough, one of the test showed that I too was having problems with liver function. I don't believe it was the meds (I didn't tell the doctor that at the time)...it was the mass quantities of alcohol. How could it not have been? Did I stop? I tried a little, for a little while. But the final answer was no...I was young and indestructable, I'd take my chances.

Originally Posted by daphne View Post
This made me realise how dependant I am on it. I crave a drink on my return from work every evening. I even want a drink when I am ill. I drink to celebrate and sypathise. I drink to drown my sorrows and to count my blessings. I drink to cure a hangover. I reward myself with drink. I drink because life is too short. I drink because I am happy and because I am sad. I drink. You get the idea!
Sure I get it. It's a classic symptoms of alcoholism. ANY REASON is a good enough one for us to drink.

Originally Posted by daphne View Post
Having worked professionally in this field (psychology) I am relectant to seek help. I know and preach all the theories about behaviour change. I am too embarssed by the stigma to seek support.
Don't worry about the stigma. When all is said and done, sure, you work in the field of psychology...but you are a human being, and every human being has their demons. This is yours. Don't let what you do professionally keep you from getting help. I work in a program for young adults ages 16-25 that did not complete high school. We help them get their GEDs, teach them job and life skills, and councel them. I can't say I never felt like a total hypocrite talking to someone about an addiction problem (and there are A LOT of those cases in my line of work) knowing I'd go home that same night and drink til I blacked out. Now that I am starting to understand my problem, it is more of a help to me than a hinderance. I can truly empathize with them. I don't tell them my history, but they know that I "get" it.

Originally Posted by daphne View Post
Can I or should i stop all together OR cut down? Tried both too hard
The thought of a life without alcohol seems one boring life.A long dry road into a social desert i do not want to go down.
I don't know. Have you tried to cut down? If not, take one drink and see if you can stop. I can't do it. I thought life would suck after I stopped drinking too, and some days I am depressed beyond belief, but my life is not boring. In fact, some days I feel more alive than I ever thought possible. Life can be beautiful. Waking up in the morning without the taste of alcohol still in my mouth and having a successful day is the greatest things ever.

Originally Posted by daphne View Post
Alcohol has honestly given me more joy and fun than problems.
Maybe so. But if you are reliant on something negative, is your life really joyful? Joyful to me means being free...if you are reliant on drinking, you are not free.

I would hate to see something happen to your health because of your alcohol use. But maybe you have to hit rock bottom before you can truly make a decision regarding whether or not you will continue to drink. Or maybe not. Maybe you can just give sobriety a try for a while with the peace of mind that you are doing something good for yourself and your body.
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Old 01-05-2010, 10:14 AM
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Quote:
As for AA meeting OMG never ever ever could I do that I would find it too embarassing and fear I would meet someone i know!"

So what... That person you know may be a great person for support. Just a suggestion, but It may be constructive to get to a place where what you think about yourself is
more important than what other people think about you. Obviously not trying to soft sell. As you're in the psych field try some groub cbt type sessions if you really feel grapevine caddieness could jeopadize your job or reputation. In my experience the opinions of other drunks are engineered to recruit and maintain enablers. Other people
gossip simply because they have nothing better to do. What matters is what you think about yourself and what you want.
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Old 01-05-2010, 10:26 AM
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A wise answer that many have given here on SR is give up alcohol for one month. If you find that you can give it up easily then you are probably a heavy drinker that needs to cut back.
If you find that you are plagued by mental obsessions to drink, cannot stop, and experience physical cravings, you are probably an alcoholic and need to stop drinking.
Don't be afraid to walk into the rooms.
You will discover a whole new life there and amazing people that you will want in your life.
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Old 01-05-2010, 10:32 AM
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Hi daphne. I certainly can relate to everything you've said. In the end I had a drink by my side 24/7. There was a time when I could wait until after work like you do, but as you've heard, it's a progressive disease. You stated that your tolerance has increased. It will continue to, trust me. In the end, even 100 proof vodka didn't do the job for me, and I was a person who once got lightheaded on one beer.

I never thought to question why I had the need to drink to stifle my emotions. I didn't even think of it that way at the time - it seemed like an enhancement. While I was enhancing, though, I was killing my ability to feel, grow, and mature. I wasn't solving problems, just masking everything with a fake euphoria. When I got sober I had to learn to live again without my crutch - it felt so strange at first. Now, I'm so grateful to be free of the chains that I was carrying. I'm finally getting to know myself and learning why I felt the need to numb myself all those years.

SusanE has a good suggestion about reading "Under The Influence" - I also saw myself in "Drinking - A Love Story" by Caroline Knapp. Reading books by people you respect & can relate to is very helpful.

Please let us know how it's going for you, daphne! We care.
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Old 01-05-2010, 10:42 AM
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daphne, I have a friend who is presently laying in a hospice because he is terminal with liver failure. Sad thing is that he was in the hospital to a prior re-admission and when I went to see him he told me "Caitlin, when a doctor tells me my drinking is going to kill me, I'm done!" I believe him. I've known the guy for almost 20 years.

Two days after being released from the hospital he was re-admitted and this time the poisons had gone and spread through out his body. He's had numerous blood transfusions, they have drained access liquids from his body and have done all they can. So sad as I know he could have done this and he's not getting a second chance. He also has a 12 year old son. He's a good friend and it's very sad to witness this all happening. People are going to miss him terribly and this IS NOT how he wanted to die.

This disease of alcoholism and addiction is absolutely a killer. If it doesn't get us health-wise, it can get us in so many other ways.

I'm lucky to be here as much alcohol as I drank and I had to hit a real bottom to get where I am today. I'm so glad it hasn't cost me my life as I also have two BEAUTIFUL sons that are worth getting up everyday and doing what I have to do to be the mother and human being I really want to be AND for them to be proud of and be able to say PROUDLY, "that's my mom!"

daphne, I want nothing more than the same for you or any other person that comes to this board and you have some real serious health issues that I pray you won't ignore.

SR is a great site, you'll have tons of support here and I'm sure more stories and experiences that others will share. My very best to you!!
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