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Struggling with Withdrawal?

Old 06-17-2018, 11:27 AM
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Struggling with Withdrawal?

Hi, I'm just getting started getting off alcohol and don't know if I'll be successful or not. Sometimes I'm not sure I want to. I'm apathetic.

I've been wondering why this is so and thinking maybe I feel bad about myself like I don't care what happens to me --like I deserve it.

I'm working on changing my thinking but it is tough, and I feel very alone.

I've suffered from depression off and on in the past then felt like I turned the corner. Got in great physical shape and then messed up my life by divorcing my then husband. I regret it and can't take it back. I've tried to re-open that door, but of course, he's done with me.

I don't know why I divorced. He was and is a good guy, loving father, supportive, you name it. Emotionally he was always very shut off and I guess this was part of it.

But, another part was just me...thinking the grass was greener elsewhere. I was selfish. I feel like it was a huge mistake and can't seem to get past it and forgive myself and make the best of things or feel hopeful for the future.

I feel such shame as well because I feel my actions hurt my daughter who is the stars in my sky. I feel I can never make up for this.

I'm always looking back...on my marriage that I screwed up and how things were with my family and friends in the past. I look back too much and am sad about how things have changed and passed. So much so it makes it hard to look ahead.

Anyway, in the wake of financial ruin (from divorce) and worrying about survival, my mom died and I struggled with anxiety and it affected my jobs.

Long and short of it, gradually I started drinking more and more until now I drink a bottle of wine almost every night, occasionally more or a mixed drink. I can't even believe it when I think back over the last year, maybe more, that I'm drinking that much.

I've said I'm going to quit numerous times and backslide then feel like crap about myself again. I used to have such will and discipline, but now I have so little.

I know I've been using alcohol to deal with pain and anxiety.

I didn't realize how much anxiety is an issue for me until recently. I'm constantly worrying and it's exhausting. Drinking turns it off at least temporarily.

But, I hate that I lose so much time and productivity. I actually prefer feeling sober...isn't that weird. I want to drink so much at night but I hate the outcome and prefer feeling clear and energy the next day.

Anyway, I drank on Friday night and then yesterday didn't feel hungover per se but was super unmotivated and emotional and anxious. Zero initiative. I often feel like I don't have enough initiative in life in general also and this bothers me. I feel like I don't have the drive or energy to change.

Today I feel even worse than yesterday emotionally. Physically, I feel ok, but, I've been crying A LOT.

And I just want to sleep all day but I have my daughter with me and have been trying to force myself to do some things. I feel so bad about this even though she's of an age she can entertain herself pretty well. I feel soooo guilty. I told her I wasn't feeling well and she is so sweet and understood but still I can't just be a zombie all day.

My boyfriend was here for a while but had to go do some stuff at work. I even thought my ex might want to keep my daughter with him a little while today being Father's Day. I took her over there for an hour to see him and give him his gift. We do pretty good at sharing custody and get along well. We don't fight or anything like that.

I feel so alone and feel like I need help and support through this but don't have anyone.

Anyway, I thought a lot of what I was feeling was just my usual depression/anxiety.

But, then I wondered if maybe it's mostly alcohol withdrawal, which is scary. I guess I'm facing the fact that I may have some level of physical dependence on it.

I'm already feeling super anxious again because of work tomorrow. There are moments I just don't know if I can do it. Like I just want to quit everything and hide but I can't of course. The urge is so powerful.

I suspect there must be other people here who have gone through some of this.

Please tell me it gets better.
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Old 06-17-2018, 11:51 AM
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It does get better but it takes time. Give yourself more sober time. After a few weeks you should be feeling a lot better.
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Old 06-17-2018, 03:10 PM
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Originally Posted by wheekie View Post

Anyway, I thought a lot of what I was feeling was just my usual depression/anxiety.

But, then I wondered if maybe it's mostly alcohol withdrawal, which is scary. I guess I'm facing the fact that I may have some level of physical dependence on it.

I'm already feeling super anxious again because of work tomorrow. There are moments I just don't know if I can do it. Like I just want to quit everything and hide but I can't of course. The urge is so powerful.

.


Welcome to SR wheekie !

I think you are right to suspect those symptoms as withdrawal ,...and ultimately part of the spectrum of dependence .

The good news is you recognizing it now . for what it is ,....rather than having everything slowly spiral downward for who knows how long ?

I think you can expect a brief period when your mind ,..and body adjust to total sobriety , Ö.. ( I think of it as a natural unmolested state )

Just like exercise is a stress to the body ,.....and the body responds by getting stronger . Your decision to abstain permanently may initially be mentally stressful ,...but will bring you back to your old self where self discipline and motivation are like breathing ,....

Any thoughts to drink in the near future ,...or far off future are truly just a mental expression of your dependence . Mine certainly diminished as the weeks and first months went by ,...... that's the norm from what I've read here over the last 7 years ,...Ö. every reason you should expect the same .


I was told early on to stay focused on ,.. not. picking up that devastating first drink .

The thought being ; Ö.

Topspin not taking the first . drink = Topspin never drinking .


wheekie ,..... You got this !!
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Old 06-17-2018, 05:10 PM
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Welcome aboard Wheekie
This is a great place of support understanding and encouragement.
You're not alone

Not drinking anymore is hard - but it does get better I promise.

Drinking stole my optimism and my motivation - by quitting, I rediscovered a me I'd forgotten about. A me I actually liked.

I think you will too
D
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Old 06-17-2018, 06:24 PM
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Originally Posted by least View Post
It does get better but it takes time. Give yourself more sober time. After a few weeks you should be feeling a lot better.
Thank you for the reassurance! Just knowing others have done it and can relate to how hard it feels helps a lot.
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Old 06-17-2018, 06:39 PM
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Thank you all for the kind words and encouragement. I'm still getting used to how to reply in the forums.

Topspin, I think you are right that it is like exercise and building up strength. I like that analogy having been in bodybuilding in the past.

I hope that it is not too long before I can feel a little spark of something good. I am hanging on in the belief that I will feel better at some point and this is just my body getting back to that natural state.

I try to remember that what I feel without alcohol is more real than with it... good and the bad. I've been hiding from the bad feelings so long and have to face them in order to get to the good.

It has helped me to remind myself that feeling sad or upset or afraid won't kill me. I can endure the feelings, I tell myself. They are just feelings.

Thank you again for the encouragement.
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Old 06-17-2018, 06:41 PM
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Welcome. I have been sober a few months but for me it was an easy decision - quit or die. You may be drinking a bottle of wine a day now, but youíll keep needing more and more to quiet the anxiety. I think many of us drink because of anxiety and depression. I also made bad choices when I drank - all I can do is be thankful I got a chance to get sober. You can do this! If nothing else, so you can truly be there for your daughter. Youíre in good company here. Best of luck.
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Old 06-17-2018, 06:47 PM
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Welcome!

I hope you decide to stop drinking and I know you will find lots of support here.

You might find as I did, drinking escalated my anxiety a lot. I became caught up in the cycle of alcohol causing anxiety and then using alcohol to deal with the anxiety. It's a downward spiral that's hard to get out of, but you can do it.
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Old 06-28-2018, 06:37 AM
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So, I stopped drinking and made it 4 days and then when I was on vacation at my sister's house, I slipped and drank...about a bottle of wine.

Oddly, I didn't really care if I drank but I didn't want anyone to know I was not drinking and I usually have wine at dinner when I visit with them. Dumb.

Felt like crap the next day of course. Didn't drink for a couple more days and then had 2 beers (large) with dinner this past Saturday. So, this is day 5.

I have no idea if I'm really going through withdrawal. Maybe I'm just nuts. I've dealt with depression and anxiety in the past, so it's hard for me to tell if this is just that.

I'm not sure I've been drinking enough for long enough to be experiencing this, but it's been a rough week, and it can't just be coincidence, can it?

I haven't felt like eating. Sometimes because I'm not hungry, other times, I feel my stomach being hungry but am not interested in food and have no motivation to do anything about it. Nothing sounds good either.

I sweat at night when I sleep. Sleep has been a mixed bag. Didn't do too bad last night but sweated some...maybe not as bad as usual. I've had sweat issues in the past that aren't related to alcohol, so who knows. I suspect hormones may play some role as well.

But the most challenging issue though is that I've had is horrible anxiety.

I keep thinking it's getting better, but it greets me every morning. It's been hard to function. I have a business to run. Luckily I've been able to farm some stuff out but that makes me more anxious not bringing in as much money. I keep thinking, hoping this will pass and I'll feel like doing something, but I feel crippled by anxiety.

Sometimes I just break down and can't stop crying. I've called friends to lean on but I feel so scared, sad and alone. And I feel like a helpless burden to others. No one knows how to help. I feel like my body is tingling with electricity or something.

Part of me prays this is just withdrawal because perhaps that means in time I'll feel better. But, I worry I'm just going crazy.
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Old 06-28-2018, 10:58 AM
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Oh wheekie, your posts sound like I could have written them myself. Iím also having a very hard time struggling to stay sober, Iím exhausted all the time but canít sleep... think my main problem is I thought being sober Iíd feel much better and instead I feel worse. Physically and emotionally. I donít count how many days Iíve been sober but I think Iím at about 3 months now. And it seems like it gets harder every day to resist the urge to buy alcohol and drink away my sorrows.
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Old 06-28-2018, 12:04 PM
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Welcome, wheekie. It definitely does get better but it doesn't happen overnight. We've done a lot of damage that takes time to repair--we didn't become addicted overnight and it will take more than a few days to really feel better.
There is a phenomenon called 'kindling' where each time we drink again and quit is harder than the last. This has happened to me.
Have you thought about seeking medical help? There are meds that can make withdrawals and the crippling anxiety much more bearable. Please don't feel ashamed to seek help--I was, but I really needed a LOT of it to get and stay sober. I hope you stick around here and post often--this is a great group of people with lots of advice and experience. Wishing you all the best--and day 5 is awesome. It's inspiring that you're keeping up the fight--don't ever give up.
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Old 06-28-2018, 03:47 PM
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Hi Wheekie

Why not commit to posting here daily - maybe join the Class of June support thread?

The more effort I put into actively staying sober the less likely I was to make that decision to drink again?

D
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Old 06-29-2018, 05:54 AM
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Hi Wheekie. How are you doing today? I found that my anxiety came before my alcoholism. I was self medicating to combat the anxiety and ultimately crossed the line into alcoholism. My morning anxiety diminished after a period of sobriety, but I still experience it. Can you talk with a doctor about self medicating? Maybe once your anxiety is tempered, the cravings will diminish?
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Old 06-29-2018, 03:15 PM
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Katzen, I'm so sorry to hear you are still struggling at 3 months! I'm sure it is hard but hope it gets better for you. Like others have recommended here, have you talked to a doc?

Rar, I think it's highly possible that I've been using alcohol to diminish my anxiety.
And Verdantia--yes, I've heard and read about kindling. I wouldn't be surprised if that's the case with me as well. I have not talked to my doc about my alcohol use. But, I did go talk to her about my anxiety. I've been seeing her for a long time for anxiety and depression. And up until recently, I thought it was better.

Anyway, doc upped my anti-depressant (been on a low dose for a long time) and gave me gabapentin. I had tried it in the past for anxiety but without much effect.

I had taken Ativan for a while several years ago but developed a dependency to it even though I was taking it only as needed and a small dose. Getting off of that was sheer hell. I thought I was losing my mind and swore I'd never take benzos again.

However, I took gabapentin (300mg) yesterday afternoon about 5 pm and it knocked me out. I fell asleep for a long time. Woke up for an evening appointment and was really groggy. Then went to bed about 10:30, up at 6:30 (work appointment) and came back home and went to bed again for an hour.

Was still dragging. Worked from 10-3. Came home, cried and then slept again til just now.

Anyway, doc originally said I could use the gabapentin anytime I felt anxious (which I explained was primarily morning). Obviously, that's not going to work since I have a job and can't be sedated and function. UGH.

She said we may just have to wait until my anti-depressant kicks in.

I feel bad.
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Old 06-29-2018, 03:18 PM
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Hey Dee, thank you for the suggestion. That makes sense a lot of sense. Not sure if I'm ready for daily posting, but I'll check out that thread.
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Old 06-30-2018, 09:21 AM
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Made it through the day yesterday.

Today, my boyfriend went out of town and my daughter is out of town with Grandparents, so I'm by myself this weekend until Wednesday. Often times I enjoy having time to myself, but lately, I hate it. I'm trying to look at it in a positive light, but it's hard when feeling anxious. I just want someone around.

After dropping off BF at airport I came home and slept until almost noon. I feel like such a slug. I used to pop out of bed at 6 or earlier every day.

Now, I feel like I'm just puttering. And anxiety creeping in here and there. Maybe it's not as bad as yesterday at least. Not having to face work helps, and I find myself trying not to think about Monday.

I don't have many friends who are local that I can call on to do things with which makes me sad.
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Old 06-30-2018, 09:50 AM
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Dry July is almost here and is a perfect "excuse" for telling family and friends you aren't drinking. I had awful anxiety when I was drinking daily. It was torture. The only cure is to push through the early days and I PROMISE it will get better. I still have some anxiety I have to manage but it is so much easier these days after 3 months sober. I joined AA to make sober connections. I have no family nearby and no friends that abstain from alcohol. There are other sober groups out there too. Best of luck on your sober journey.
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Old 06-30-2018, 03:34 PM
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You sound like a "type A" personality - you hate not being productive, worry about just "puttering about" on a weekend (that's what most folks do on their day off...), and can't stop ruminating about past "failures".

If you are a Type A personality, and the sort who has to be doing something "productive", then can I suggest you put together a recovery plan and work at it. Go and get a notebook and start to make lists. I went and got out my recovery plan while typing this. My list headings and some examples:

(1) My support people and contact numbers (family, close friends, GP, counsellor)
(2) Daily recovery practices (waking early, exercising, posting on SR, reading something positive)
(3) Weekly recovery practices (counselling session, call my mum, doing yoga, getting a massage, tidying the house)
(4) Triggers (evenings alone, travelling, special occasions)
(5) Strategies for dealing with triggers (logging onto SR, going for a run, "urge-surfing", playing the tape through)
(6) Goals - health, professional, appearance, personal

That part of you with will and discipline will likely perk up doing this. Just doing it ought to give you hope for a future. Visualise that sober person who will do all those things. That person is waiting to emerge again.

The anxiety and depression are likely the effects of alcohol. I became anxious when I was drinking, and could not see a future - I am usually a very optimistic person. I also became paranoid in the latter stages of my drinking, and even imagined people who were having unconnected private conversations at work were really discussing my drinking problem.

As the physical effects of alcohol lifted, the old me returned. I fixed on that recovery plan like my life depended on it (and it did).

Don't put pressure on yourself to feel better straight away, just get the plan together and dedicate yourself to following it and staying sober.
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Old 07-01-2018, 10:19 AM
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Originally Posted by goodbyeevan View Post
Dry July is almost here and is a perfect "excuse" for telling family and friends you aren't drinking. I had awful anxiety when I was drinking daily. It was torture. The only cure is to push through the early days and I PROMISE it will get better. I still have some anxiety I have to manage but it is so much easier these days after 3 months sober. I joined AA to make sober connections. I have no family nearby and no friends that abstain from alcohol. There are other sober groups out there too. Best of luck on your sober journey.
I like your idea, but it scares me because I'm not sure I can commit. I have given up so many times on so many things when I don't do what I say I'm going to I feel like it just tears me down even more. I know that sounds weird. But, I'm thinking about it.

Also, I almost went to an AA meeting last night but then wound up staying home. The idea of having some kind of social outlet is appealing if I can get over the inertia. But, there's still a part of me that doesn't want to believe I'm a full-on alcoholic. That maybe I just have a problem with alcohol and that if I don't check it now it will become worse.

I realize it's probably denial but wondering if at some point I may be able to handle alcohol in small doses. I feel like I've done this in the past.

When I was a bodybuilder, I hardly ever drank because I was always really strict about my diet. And the times when I was offseason, I was fine just having one or two here and there.

Somehow I think all the crap I've been through in the past few years with divorce and financial struggle has exacerbated my anxiety and alcohol inadvertently became my way of dealing with it. I don't think I even realized it.

Also, I think at some point drinking became a kind of "fk it, I don't care if I kill myself, I deserve it." I'm working on these feelings of bitterness and shame though and feel like maybe once I do, I could moderate. IDK.
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Old 07-01-2018, 10:24 AM
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Originally Posted by MissPerfumado View Post
You sound like a "type A" personality - you hate not being productive, worry about just "puttering about" on a weekend (that's what most folks do on their day off...), and can't stop ruminating about past "failures".

If you are a Type A personality, and the sort who has to be doing something "productive", then can I suggest you put together a recovery plan and work at it. Go and get a notebook and start to make lists. I went and got out my recovery plan while typing this. My list headings and some examples:

(1) My support people and contact numbers (family, close friends, GP, counsellor)
(2) Daily recovery practices (waking early, exercising, posting on SR, reading something positive)
(3) Weekly recovery practices (counselling session, call my mum, doing yoga, getting a massage, tidying the house)
(4) Triggers (evenings alone, travelling, special occasions)
(5) Strategies for dealing with triggers (logging onto SR, going for a run, "urge-surfing", playing the tape through)
(6) Goals - health, professional, appearance, personal

That part of you with will and discipline will likely perk up doing this. Just doing it ought to give you hope for a future. Visualise that sober person who will do all those things. That person is waiting to emerge again.

The anxiety and depression are likely the effects of alcohol. I became anxious when I was drinking, and could not see a future - I am usually a very optimistic person. I also became paranoid in the latter stages of my drinking, and even imagined people who were having unconnected private conversations at work were really discussing my drinking problem.

As the physical effects of alcohol lifted, the old me returned. I fixed on that recovery plan like my life depended on it (and it did).

Don't put pressure on yourself to feel better straight away, just get the plan together and dedicate yourself to following it and staying sober.
Well, you may be right. I haven't thought of myself as type A before but maybe I am. Organizing stuff and making lists sometimes soothes my anxiety, sometimes it makes it worse and I use it as a way to avoid actually doing things.

But, a recovery plan sounds sensible. Thank you for explaining it. I've heard others talk about it but wasn't sure what it really was. Makes sense.

As for being productive, others tell me the same thing about weekends, but I'm serious when I say that often I have a hard time motivating myself to do the simplest things...like make food or do anything beyond lie around. I think most people who are chillaxin on the weekend are at least doing something...like taking a walk or going to the pool or grocery shopping etc... Even little tasks like this have been a challenge lately.

However, yesterday, I managed to pull myself together to do a short workout at the gym and go to the store. I made dinner. And I sorted some craft supplies. Not a lot considering the vast swaths of time I did absolutely nothing. But, at the end of the day, I felt marginally better that I hadn't pissed the entire day away.
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