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Old 03-03-2018, 05:59 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Tapering


Hi, I was drinking 8oz vodka everymorning and 8oz again in the evening. Decided to taper off. Had 8oz in the morning and nothing in the evening. 3rd day now and I'm planning on doing 4-5 oz in the morning and nothing in the evening and tomorrow just 2 and then stop. Is this a good idea? Will I have bad withdrawal?
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Old 03-03-2018, 07:26 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Its hard to tell whether you will experience withdrawals or how serious they may be. Tapering is not encouraged on this forum but I will say that I succesfully tapered a couple times in my life. It requires extreme discipline and you still will go through some uncomfortable times. I drank the least amount possible to keep my heart rate , blood pressure and shaking under control.
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Old 03-03-2018, 07:55 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Ditto the above- we cannot tell you what your experience will be.

This is a common topic - debate- on here and I am squarely in the camp of cold turkey. I had a VERY serious vodka habit by the end and went through extreme withdrawal, symptoms, etc.

IMO tapering is most often a mental game an alcoholic can play with themselves- the final quit always being a moving target.

Perhaps go see your dr?
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Old 03-03-2018, 08:44 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Yeah, I did a taper.

August, while I agree with your points, you did cold-turkey with medical help, right? You didn't just quit without medication after a handle of vodka every two days, did you?

I was drinking a fifth every 2/3 days. I went to two drinks on my first taper day. Second taper day I went to one drink. Third day, about a half shot of rum. Then I poured the rest down the drain and suffered the rest of the withdrawals without medication. I was just dumb and didn't know it could have been dangerous.

I decided I was ready to stop and then treated symptoms for those three days (extreme heart racing and anxiety.) I figured if I was gonna be done, best make it quick. I guess it could have gone badly for me. I'm just glad to never have to do it again.
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Old 03-03-2018, 09:00 AM   #5 (permalink)
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[QUOTE=biminiblue;6807712]Yeah, I did a taper.

"August, while I agree with your points, you did cold-turkey with medical help, right? You didn't just quit without medication after a handle of vodka every two days, did you?"

Yes I did it cold turkey without knowing at all what alcohol withdrawal is. I just thought I would quit. Went a whole month without it but had a panic attack and sleep paralysis every single night. Btw I also suffer from clinical depression and she (my therapist) said it might be alcohol withdrawal and to try to taper by half instead of go cold turkey and said that If I experienced bad symptoms to come back.

After she made me aware of what alcohol withdrawal ive just been kind of scared of possible seizures and things. It so easily relieves me from depression that it is very addicting, somehow I managed to half it everyday but I need to know if actually works to keep going
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Old 03-03-2018, 09:07 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Yes I did it cold turkey without knowing at all what alcohol withdrawal is. I just thought I would quit. Went a whole month without it but had a panic attack and sleep paralysis every single night. Btw I also suffer from clinical depression and she said it might be alcohol withdrawal and to try to taper by half instead of go cold turkey and said that If I experienced bad symptoms to come back.
Are you in the UK? In the US I don't think tapering is recommended. I'd go back for sure if I had bad symptoms. They have meds to help.

If you would have stuck with the sobriety the symptoms would have died down in time, not necessarily in a month, though. I had a lot of discomfort, anxiety, jumpiness and fear in the first few months. The panic attacks are pretty common, I had to talk myself off a few ledges in early days. I've heard others talk of the sleep paralysis.

I'd say get off as soon as possible and then keep coming to this site or go to AA or some other meetings or counseling in order to get through the next difficult few months.

It's not easy and there are dues to be paid in the way of sleeplessness, increased anxiety, depression, and other symptoms - BUT that will get better with continuous sobriety.
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Old 03-03-2018, 09:12 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I did a medical detox using diazepam tapered over a period of two weeks, as strongly suggested by my doctor (psychiatrist trained in substance abuse and mood disorders). Tried self tapering, and at-home benzo taper. Both failed. Complete cold turkey was considered very risky in my case, and as I had the resources to do my detox as the start of inpatient rehab, I saw no reason to go pure cold turkey. However, people have done this successfully as in Augusts's post above, although I believe she was monitored or at least had access to doctors during her detox.

I was at 15-25 standard drinks per day, around the clock, which I'd been doing for months. You were at about 10-11 standard drinks a day, which is definitely significant. How you will react and what sort of symptoms you will have cannot be predicted with a reasonable amount of precision. At the very least I believe you should let a doctor know what you are attempting to do.

Tapering didn't work for me, and per the experiences I've read on this board, rarely works for others. For my big quit I used medical detox, the times I had significant abstinent periods previously in my life I cold-turkeyed.

I also suffer from bipolar disorder, which would have exacerbated withdrawal induced anxiety and mood swings, although I hadn't been taking my medication for a long time. Once sober, I got back on it and it's working wonders.
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Old 03-03-2018, 09:14 AM   #8 (permalink)
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"Are you in the UK? In the US I don't think tapering is recommended.

I'd say get off as soon as possible and then just keep coming to this site or go to AA or some other meetings or counseling in order to get through the next difficult few months.

It's not easy and there are dues to be paid in the way of sleeplessness, increased anxiety, depression, and other symptoms - BUT that will get better with continuous sobriety."

I am in the US. I did my 4 drinks in the morning. Guess I will do my 2 tomorrow morning and then stop and hope my sleep and panic is better. It could just be my clinical depression but I hope you are right. I was just terrified of having a seizure in the night (cant afford a doctor) and living alone and having no friends.
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Old 03-03-2018, 09:18 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I am in the US. I did my 4 drinks in the morning. Guess I will do my 2 tomorrow morning and then stop and hope my sleep and panic is better. It could just be my clinical depression but I hope you are right. I was just terrified of having a seizure in the night (cant afford a doctor) and living alone and having no friends.
You may find your depression improves greatly with a few months sobriety, I know I'm a different, happier person in every way.

I needed to be around people to quell my fear in the early months, and AA meetings helped. Call the local number and talk to someone. Don't let this fear of a seizure and fear of anxiety stop you from getting help. They've seen it and heard it all before.

We are here, but if you want to be around people and can't afford a doctor, that's what I would do.
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Old 03-03-2018, 09:19 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Thats good for you! I hope I have similar success. Just afraid of the symptoms.
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Old 03-03-2018, 09:25 AM   #11 (permalink)
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My depression was for several years before I started drinking. So, I doubt it will get better with sobriety. It might though, who knows. I will try the AA thing. Thanks for the help. I still hope this relapse causes no withdrawal, after that I can find ways to distract myself having done it so far in life.
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Old 03-03-2018, 01:27 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by biminiblue View Post
Yeah, I did a taper.

August, while I agree with your points, you did cold-turkey with medical help, right? You didn't just quit without medication after a handle of vodka every two days, did you?

I was drinking a fifth every 2/3 days. I went to two drinks on my first taper day. Second taper day I went to one drink. Third day, about a half shot of rum. Then I poured the rest down the drain and suffered the rest of the withdrawals without medication. I was just dumb and didn't know it could have been dangerous.

I decided I was ready to stop and then treated symptoms for those three days (extreme heart racing and anxiety.) I figured if I was gonna be done, best make it quick. I guess it could have gone badly for me. I'm just glad to never have to do it again.
I did it cold turkey - the only thing done were liver function, Thiamin and Vit B tests, and I just stayed on the sleep meds I had been prescribed and added Antabuse for the first 90 days. I never went to a dr office or hospital for any of the immediate (first few weeks) or prolonged (months- in some ways to first year) PAWS I experienced.
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Old 03-03-2018, 01:58 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Cold turkey can be very dangerous. First withdrawal I did not have DTs but protracted
horrible symptoms including high blood pressure. Next time around I took benzos. I have been sober at least a year now. If I had to do it over again I definitely would have done a medical detox from the get go. Please check in with a Dr. for guidance
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Old 03-03-2018, 02:49 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Hi Alc

No one here can tell you what your withdrawals will be like because it's such an
individual thing - depends on a lot of variables.

If you're concerned about it, the best thing to do is see your Dr and have them check you over.

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Old 03-03-2018, 06:47 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Ditto the above- we cannot tell you what your experience will be.

This is a common topic - debate- on here and I am squarely in the camp of cold turkey. I had a VERY serious vodka habit by the end and went through extreme withdrawal, symptoms, etc.

IMO tapering is most often a mental game an alcoholic can play with themselves- the final quit always being a moving target.

Perhaps go see your dr?
Cold turkey camp? Cold turkey can be life-threatening for a heavy abuser. Seizures can be fatal and full-on separation from reality with frightening images and accusatory voices is probably not safe for the person or others around him or her.

What does a doctor give an alcoholic who wants to stop drinking? Benzodiazepines because they are cross tolerant to alcohol and can remove alcohol right away without dangerous withdrawals. What does a doctor suggest to a benzodiazepine addict? A taper of benzodiazepines, the very substance they're addicted to.

I've tapered 5-6 times successfully (that is, breaking the physiological dependence with no withdrawals at all). It's not a mental game of shifting the quit day; it's a specific schedule mapped out to zero that's real ****ing hard to stick to in the early goings, but hey, so is abruptly stopping.

The reason why tapering of alcohol is no longer the medical preferred inpatient treatment of quitting alcohol is because benzos are not as harmful to the liver and kidneys, so they're removing the most toxic chemical immediately.
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Old 03-03-2018, 07:24 PM   #16 (permalink)
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I’ve had to taper a few times, but you have to REALLY be committed to the taper. The taper to me meant being able to move, eat healthy, drink tons of h20, smoothies etc. Without the taper I could be in bed dry heaving and throwing up every ounce of hydration (water, juice) I tried to get.
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Old 03-03-2018, 07:41 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Both cold turkey and tapering can be risky without professional supervision.

The best advice for anyone worried about withdrawal is still to see their Dr.

Most of us here are not medical professionals, and even those few members who are, should not be recommending any courses of action.

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10. Medical Advice: No Posts giving medical advice, medication advice, or psychiatric advice. Do not use the forum to give or ask for professional medical or psychiatric advice. If you are a medical professional, please remember the forums and chat are for peer support only and not to be used for distributing professional medical advice and/or using the forum to represent your professional services. Medical and Psychiatric advice includes giving a diagnosis, treatment plan, medication advice and dosage suggestions, over the counter and natural home remedies that should be approved by medical professionals. Detox can be dangerous and life threatening at times. Please consult with your physician.
We are a peer support group here.

We simply cannot give medical advice. You need to see a medical professional for that.

Thanks for your understanding

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Old 03-03-2018, 08:15 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Understood!
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Old 03-03-2018, 08:48 PM   #19 (permalink)
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It was a general message not directed at you specifically behappy1!

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Old 03-04-2018, 04:17 AM   #20 (permalink)
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I always caveat my cold turkey choice with "IME and IMO" and such. It's certainly not the choice for many. For ME, I was DONE with alcohol and could not stand the thought of another drop into my body. Yes, I suffered greatly- but again, I would do it the same way- the suffering i went through AFTER quitting is not something I am ever willing to go through again. It was also a small price to pay for what I did to my body. Perhaps I sound pugilistic or such to some folks, but again....this is just what I chose.
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