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Depression/anxiety, "CA sober", moderation

Old 08-30-2021, 11:34 AM
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Depression/anxiety, "CA sober", moderation

Hi everyone! I've already interacted with a few of you and thank you for being so welcoming. I'm a binge drinker, and I need to clean up. I'm used to going periods of time without drinking, so it took me quite a while to admit I have a problem. But as I face down sobriety, I have a couple things I'm wondering about...
How do other people deal with depression and anxiety? I'm on meds, but most of the time I'm still low. I largely like drinking because it literally provides the serotonin that I don't normally get. I don't know what else provides immediate happiness like that.
CA sober, as I've heard it called-- no drugs or drinking except marijuana. It helps me with my anxiety. Anyone else have thoughts on this, how it can be useful and/or triggering?
I used to be able to drink in moderation. It's hard for me to imagine never drinking again... does anyone have experience with learning moderation after a period of abstinence, or does no one think that's possible?
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Old 08-30-2021, 11:40 AM
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I think you're going to keep getting the same answer, clara.

No, moderation is not possible for problem drinkers. I quit for 18 years. When I started drinking again I ran up against the same behaviors and problems as I had previously observed in myself. It didn't get, "re-set." I don't even want to have one or two drinks anyway, what's the point in that? I want the warm, numbed-out, quiet brain, blissful floating feeling that only comes with multiple drinks.

Marijuana is a drug that is also addictive, so trading one for the other is not "sober." In fact, marijuana and alcohol have both been proven to actually cause anxiety and depression and that becomes most clear when trying to quit them.

I don't know where you came up with the idea that alcohol, "provides," serotonin, what it actually does is much more sinister. Here's a link to get you started, (Excerpts from "Under The Influence")Excerpts from "Under The Influence"

You might also order the book, "Under The Influence," from which the excerpts above are taken, or a newer book, "Alcohol Explained," and get the real story from a scientific viewpoint.



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Old 08-30-2021, 12:17 PM
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Those who need to moderate can't, those who can don't need to.

Sure, one can complexify it if desired but that kind of gets to the heart of it imo.
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Old 08-30-2021, 01:02 PM
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Thank you both for the information! I will check out the books, I always prefer to have scientific explanations. And "those who need to moderate don't"-- that makes sense. That sticks.
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Old 08-30-2021, 07:15 PM
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Originally Posted by clara73 View Post
Thank you both for the information! I will check out the books, I always prefer to have scientific explanations. And "those who need to moderate don't"-- that makes sense. That sticks.
Now that cannabis is legal in states. And you are legally prescribed and the benefits out way the side effects per your doctor. Then it will be your responsibility for your recovery. I say this chase it relates to my recovery. I have not drank or used any illegal recreational drugs for more than 9 years. I was prescribed opiates majority of my life for health reasons. Overtime it led me back to rock bottom like any other drug because I began to abuse it. I guess what I'm trying to say is addiction has a sneaky way of making it's way back to destruction. Though we don't give medical recommendations. I see alot of recovering members say they are on this meditation for anxiety and this worked for me depression and this works for me. Are they truly sober or is it because they are addicted to these pills prescribed by the doctors. That is making them love recovery. Who knows we all have to be responsible for our own recovery.
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Old 08-30-2021, 08:33 PM
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HI Clara

I was addicted to pot so for me its no solution. Its just a different head on the same beast called addiction.

I wanted 'immediate happiness' too but as the years wore on all pot gave me was near catatonia, and increased anxiety and depression when I wasn't smoking...I drank in a similar way - to get wasted and embrace oblivion.

Now I'm sober, not every day is a happy one but I have an emotional baseline that's consistent - and I know I can build on if I need to.

I'm not a doctor but I think its worth while thinking whether your meds might work better without the regular self medication?

D
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Old 08-31-2021, 05:22 AM
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Drinking alcohol can temporarily boost serotonin levels but long term alcohol use can have the opposite effect. I think this could be the same for marijuana but I dont know because I was never attracted to it.

Using myself as an example: I used alcohol for many reasons and found that when I quit using alcohol I was left with an anxiety disorder that bordered on insane. I also had a very low state of being that some would say was depression.

Getting sober meant that I had to deal with a very low state of being (Depression and severe anxiety) until I leveled off and found myself on new solid ground. It took me a few months to experience the benefits of being sober. Actually, It took me a bit longer. Initially I was elated that I was not drinking alcohol. After some time of being sober I had to come face to face with my anxiety and lower states of being and find a way through without reaching for a substance to make me "feel" better. The not reaching for a substance was very hard. I was a mess. I stayed the course and found exercises (thanks to the members on this forum) to get through the anxiety. It was HARD. Very very hard. Had I not done the work I would not be here to say that it gets a million times better. The only way through is through. The only way to get better is to do the work to get better and to not reach for something that will temporarily squelch the feelings of anxiousness and depression.

If you are on a prescribed med to help with the anxiety and depression it may be wise to stop using substances and to see if that med will help your anxiety and depression. Using substances of any kind is only going to have a negative effect on our brains.
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Old 08-31-2021, 12:28 PM
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Honestly? While I have really no opinion about marijuana in general, I find the whole idea of “California sober” as a way to address addiction to be complete trash. It’s hardly a new idea, it just has a different name and a few famous people on social media promoting it. The “marijuana maintenance plan” has been around forever.

trading one mind altering substance for another, in order to avoid reality and check out in a slightly different way, is not sobriety. It’s silly at best, and dangerous at worst.

sobriety is about honesty and moving through life’s challenges. Sometimes people do truly need medicine to help with specific problems, as a hopefully short term solution. Those situations usually involve therapy and a program in addition to the medication. If that’s needed to make your life better, there’s no shame at all in using whatever tools are needed.

but those of us who are addicted to alcohol and or other drugs need to be really careful and honest with ourselves about the motivation behind seeking any substance related intervention. It’s pretty easy for a person like me to think “I’ll just do this instead...” and find myself back where I started.

new sobriety is indeed hard. The crippling anxiety and painful emotions that arise once the alcohol burns out of our brains are real and the effects don’t go away as quickly as we’d like. Things steadily got better, but I was a year sober when I really felt I could trust my own brain again.

it’s a great feeling, I know you can get there. It’s worth it.
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Old 08-31-2021, 02:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Mizz View Post
Drinking alcohol can temporarily boost serotonin levels but long term alcohol use can have the opposite effect. I think this could be the same for marijuana but I dont know because I was never attracted to it.

Using myself as an example: I used alcohol for many reasons and found that when I quit using alcohol I was left with an anxiety disorder that bordered on insane. I also had a very low state of being that some would say was depression.

Getting sober meant that I had to deal with a very low state of being (Depression and severe anxiety) until I leveled off and found myself on new solid ground. It took me a few months to experience the benefits of being sober. Actually, It took me a bit longer. Initially I was elated that I was not drinking alcohol. After some time of being sober I had to come face to face with my anxiety and lower states of being and find a way through without reaching for a substance to make me "feel" better. The not reaching for a substance was very hard. I was a mess. I stayed the course and found exercises (thanks to the members on this forum) to get through the anxiety. It was HARD. Very very hard. Had I not done the work I would not be here to say that it gets a million times better. The only way through is through. The only way to get better is to do the work to get better and to not reach for something that will temporarily squelch the feelings of anxiousness and depression.

If you are on a prescribed med to help with the anxiety and depression it may be wise to stop using substances and to see if that med will help your anxiety and depression. Using substances of any kind is only going to have a negative effect on our brains.
Originally Posted by wehav2day View Post
Honestly? While I have really no opinion about marijuana in general, I find the whole idea of “California sober” as a way to address addiction to be complete trash. It’s hardly a new idea, it just has a different name and a few famous people on social media promoting it. The “marijuana maintenance plan” has been around forever.

trading one mind altering substance for another, in order to avoid reality and check out in a slightly different way, is not sobriety. It’s silly at best, and dangerous at worst.

sobriety is about honesty and moving through life’s challenges. Sometimes people do truly need medicine to help with specific problems, as a hopefully short term solution. Those situations usually involve therapy and a program in addition to the medication. If that’s needed to make your life better, there’s no shame at all in using whatever tools are needed.

but those of us who are addicted to alcohol and or other drugs need to be really careful and honest with ourselves about the motivation behind seeking any substance related intervention. It’s pretty easy for a person like me to think “I’ll just do this instead...” and find myself back where I started.

new sobriety is indeed hard. The crippling anxiety and painful emotions that arise once the alcohol burns out of our brains are real and the effects don’t go away as quickly as we’d like. Things steadily got better, but I was a year sober when I really felt I could trust my own brain again.

it’s a great feeling, I know you can get there. It’s worth it.
Both great post and we'll explained. When I looked back at my post . It looks like I was bashing others in recovery that are on medication to assist with recovery. That wasn't my intention . It was from my personal experience. When I first got sober yes you will get hit left and right with depression anxiety emotions. Its best to give yourself sometime for your brain to start doing it's healing. Before you take something to replace it.

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Old 09-01-2021, 12:41 PM
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Sorry, but IMO 'CA Sober' isn't sober. It's just another excuse.
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Old 09-01-2021, 01:27 PM
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I had to look up what CA Sober meant. I'm assuming it's California Sober? It doesn't seem like a good idea to me. Nor does trying to drink in moderation because if you are a problem / binge drinker you are most likely just going to end up binge drinking again next time. I honestly don't believe that problem drinkers can ever moderate.

As for your depression and anxiety, are you able to exercise? I've found that exercise is a great way to help beat depression and anxiety. Exercise helps to naturally boost serotonin levels and indeed many doctors recommend it as a way to naturally beat depression and anxiety. I've found a combination of exercise and cognitive behavioural therapy is much better than alcohol in helping my low mood.
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Old 09-01-2021, 02:23 PM
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I recommend Quit Like A Woman. She addresses these issues in her excellent book.
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Old 09-01-2021, 06:01 PM
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My two bits...
I wanted to comment on your post, and chose to excerpt a section for brevity:
"...I used to be able to drink in moderation. It's hard for me to imagine never drinking again..."
I was an alcoholic for decades. I've never met a problem drinker who successfully "learned" to moderate alcohol consumption. None. Never found one in AA, never found one in all the alcohol abuse classes, and never found one in group therapy.
While enrolled in my 1-year outpatient program we lost countless participants who thought they could scratch off several months of sobriety and then moderate or "special occasion" drink. They all failed in their attempts. We had several people enrolled who just simply quit the program after months of success ...because they couldn't "wrap their head around" never having a drink again. So, back to the abyss they went.
You have to be all in. If you're an alcoholic, a problem drinker, a frequent binge drinker, or whatever label you like...acceptance is key.
Accept the disease, accept help, and accept abstinence.
I'll jump off my soapbox now...
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Old 09-01-2021, 07:08 PM
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I’m a native Southern Californian. This term the OP uses is fairly new to me.

The AA & CA Programs that I’m active in do not promote using any mind altering substance. As a “real alcoholic”, I cannot moderate. Period.

But, maybe OP is not a real alcoholic, not for me to decide.

Best to the OP.
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Old 09-01-2021, 07:32 PM
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Former binge drinker here. Depression and anxiety can be symptoms of untreated alcoholism. Alcoholism to me is the loss of control and choice in when I drink and how much.I made decisions to stop, then drank anyway, decisions to moderate, but lost control. One can treat symptoms with medication but that did not deal with the cause. There was something wrong with my connection to the world, I had to take on some new ideas and try living a different way. That got rid of the anxiety and pression and, almost as a side effect, the drinking went as well. By following a few simple rules I have found myself happily and permanently sober.

It is only natural for a newcomer to look for an easier way. Life drinking was no fun, neither was life sober. A happy sober life seems almost beyond what is possible. So it is very tempting to settle for second best. That is where we could medicate the symptoms and just try to make the best of it. Sometimes this approach is called harm reduction. Certainly it can be better than the old way, consumption is reduced along with harm to society and self. However, my experience is that there is a much better deal on offer. Harm reduction is like palliative care, we will make ourselves as comfortable as possible while we wait for the end. In contrast, full recovery from alcoholism means a world full of opportunity, doors open, the world actually turns out to be way better than I ever imagined or thought possible.

In AA our book says half measures availed us nothing. That IME is not exactly true. Half measures can mean an improvement of sorts, but it is not up to much and when compared to what can be had, might as well be nothing. Best thing to do is explore your options. Meet some people and see if you like the results they are getting, then decide if you are willing to do what they did. Chances are if you do what they did, you'll get what they got. All the best!!!
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Old 10-11-2021, 01:31 PM
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Originally Posted by clara73 View Post
Hi everyone! I've already interacted with a few of you and thank you for being so welcoming. I'm a binge drinker, and I need to clean up. I'm used to going periods of time without drinking, so it took me quite a while to admit I have a problem. But as I face down sobriety, I have a couple things I'm wondering about...
How do other people deal with depression and anxiety? I'm on meds, but most of the time I'm still low. I largely like drinking because it literally provides the serotonin that I don't normally get. I don't know what else provides immediate happiness like that.

CA sober, as I've heard it called-- no drugs or drinking except marijuana. It helps me with my anxiety. Anyone else have thoughts on this, how it can be useful and/or triggering?

I used to be able to drink in moderation. It's hard for me to imagine never drinking again... does anyone have experience with learning moderation after a period of abstinence, or does no one think that's possible?
All good questions, Clara. Couple of things:
  • On moderating: I tried moderating my alcohol usage for years. It never worked because, well, I'm an alcoholic. If you find your alcohol use to be problematic, I believe you'll find a lot of freedom in sobriety. I understand the "not being able to imagine a life without alcohol," but that was just my addiction talking. Everyone is different, but as a general rule, I've found that the people who find themselves on SoberRecovery are not able to moderate (despite multiple attempts to do so).
  • On anxiety: When I am anxious I've taken to deep breathing, meditation, using my wife as a sounding board for reason/grounding, and learning more about what anxiety really is so I can externalize it and defeat it rationally. I also love hitting the gym and going for walks (when I'm able). There are so many tools out there. Therapy helps a lot, too.
  • On cannabis: I'd be careful. If you're looking to do "marijuana maintenance" or some kind of program that replaces alcohol with marijuana -- I haven't heard many success stories on this front, and this forum isn't really the best place for it (lots of folks here struggle with marijuana use disorder). I highly recommend working with a professional and equipping yourself with strategies that don't involve a substance before self-medicating.
At the end of the day, how you choose to recover is your own journey, but you'll find a lot of great advice here as you navigate it. Keep reading and learning .


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