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Alcohol and Depression

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    Alcohol Alcohol and Depression

    Hi. 50-year-old male, long history with alcohol, binge-drinker, heavy drinker (3+ drinks per day, way more on weekends). I don't day drink (occasional weekends), and I've put it down before. I don't know if I'm an alcoholic, but there's a history of alcoholism, or at least heavy drinking, in my family. My grandfather was the type to hide bottles around the house so my grandmother wouldn't (ha) find them. I use alcohol to self-medicate my anxiety and depression, but I often have 'one too many' -- or several too many. I have occasional blackouts where I have spotty memories of the night before. It's been worse since I separated from my wife -- I tend to drink for longer, just to stay out of the house (which we still share, separate rooms, for monetary reasons).

    I've been sober since January 1 as a "Dry January" experiment. It hasn't been difficult at all -- quitting smoking was way harder than this. I don't want to drink the way that I did before, but I don't want to never drink again. And my head is clear, which is amazing. I haven't felt this clear in a long time.

    I don't have anyone I feel like I can talk to about this, so I'm hoping there are some strangers here who know what I'm talking about. I don't even know what I want. Permission to drink? Reassurance that long-term sobriety is achievable and desirable? Someone to tell me I'm not an alcoholic, that I can manage my drinking and not go back to my recent pattern?

    I'm really anxious about some family stuff right now and what I really want is to open a beer, or mix a drink. But I've got 26 days sober that I'm sort of proud of.

    Maybe what I really need is to sleep. This was scary as sh*t to write. Thanks for reading.


    #2
    Hello Bald Guy and welcome. I'm sure that this was scary sh*t to write, but you should find that it comes easier with time. I know that we are pretty friendly. You should be proud of going 26 days sober. I can't speak for you as everybody is different. But the following is my story.

    I was never an alcoholic, but I did drink 3-4 drinks whenever I with the guys or playing hockey (so 3-4 times a week) On some weekends I was occasionally spent the night in the bathroom worshiping the porcelain Goddess. Did I ever black out, well there were times that I also had spotty memories. I know that I drank some to help with anxiety at social events. I couldn't even ask my wife to dance without having a drink or two first at one time.

    Later on in life I discovered that drinking affected my medications and so I pretty much quite drinking in order to get better. Since then I have found only two problems 1) while most if my friends were delighted to have a new designated driver, I found that they were not nearly as funny when I was sober. So I lost a few friends, well I didn't lose them, I just quit hanging around with them.

    My second problem was when I did feel like a drink or two, I found that many people couldn't accept that. I would hear all of the time. "What's the matter, don't you like me , come on and have a second drink with me" or variations of that theme. So I found it easier to just tell people I didn't drink rather than have my anxieties go up as I argued with them or as they bought me a drink and then expected me to drink it.

    Do I still drink, yes, in moderation and I often go weeks without taking a drink. It no longer bothers me to go into a bar or restaurant and just drink pop. I also don't miss the hangovers and the worries that I would get stopped and charged with impaired driving.

    But that is my story and as I said everyone is different. I have one friend who for yrs couldn't even go into a licensed restaurant as he could not resist ordering a drink with his meals and then he would start drinking too much again. So he doesn't drink at all.

    A lot of literature sez drinking in moderation can help some people sleep , deal with anxieties etc, but they are talking about one beer or one light drink a night. For myself, I dislike having just one beer, I prefer two or three and I know that much will throw me off. Take Care paul m

    "Alone we can do so little;
    Together we can do so much"
    Helen Keller

    Comment


      #3
      Originally posted by paul m View Post
      Hello Bald Guy and welcome.
      Thanks, Paul. Appreciate your response.

      For me, it's certainly never 'just one' ... it's all the ones that come after three that are the problem. I promised myself the next four days, after that -- well, I guess it's one day at a time.

      BG

      Comment


        #4
        Hi BaldGuy. I am fairly new on this forum so I still feel a bit uncomfortable posting things but your entry resonated so much with my situation...
        I am in my 50's dealing with anxiety and depression (bipolar) and am currently off work on long term disability. I have made progress with the help of medication and psychotherapy and am actually almost ready to return to work (it's been almost 2 years). I too have a problem with drinking. I find I use it to self medicate when anxiety strikes or when I'm bored. I am envious of you going 26 days without drinking. I haven't gone a day without drinking in quite a while and would love to be able to so that I can tell myself I'm capable of drinking in moderation. My goal is to only drink socially (a nice bottle of wine with dinner or a drink with friends) and not drink alone. I very much want to be able to do this. Everyday, however, I end up having a drink when I'm all alone with nothing pressing to do. Yes, I'm bored now that I'm so much better. Going back to work will probably do the trick but that's a long process as I am waiting for my employer to find me a suitable assignment that meets my doctors accommodations/restrictions. So obviously, what I need to do is stay busy and distracted from the temptation to drink. Problem is, I don't have a lot going on. I have a couple of friends that I get together with each week, I go to the gym, I do yoga. I take a painting course. I look after my dogs. I read and watch movies. I'm taking an online course. That's about it. It doesn't fill all the time I'm alone at home and craving a drink. So I drink every afternoon telling myself tomorrow will be a drink free day. It never happens. I am very clear that I don't want to quit drinking altogether. I want to learn to drink in moderation. One (not three) drinks) here and there during the week and fine wine with gourmet meals (I love to cook) on the weekends. I just can't seem to get there...yet.

        Does anyone know of a support group for drinking in moderation? I live in Ontario. Anything AA based is of no interest to me. I work best from a place of empowerment not a victim like in AA.

        I wish you lots of success BaldGuy. You should be really proud of your recent sobriety. I'm hoping that once I'm back at work I'll be able to report to you guys that the drinking problem has ended. But am I being unrealistic about that? Will I just come home and have a drink or three at the end of my workday? One innocent glass of wine would be ok with me. That is my goal I guess for when I'm back at work. In the meantime, I have to get control of this. I would appreciate any suggestions or support for drinking in moderation.

        P.S. I love how you said your head is clear now that you've been off the booze. I should use that as motivation!

        Neli

        Comment


          #5
          Welcome to the forum BaldGuy. 26 days sober is awesome! Thanks for sharing some of yourself with us.
          AJ

          Humans punish themselves endlessly
          for not being what they believe they should be.
          -Don Miguel Ruiz-

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by Neli View Post
            Hi BaldGuy. ...

            Neli
            Hi Neli -- I just wanted to say I hear you. For myself, I know that drinking daily after work was so habitual that a day *without* drinking in the evening was the exception, not the rule. I don't know what my consumption would be like if I wasn't working. I run and bike and do yoga as well -- these things help me manage my mood. I think, like anything, changing a habit like drinking takes effort once it's normalized. I'm getting through each day because I made myself a promise to do it, but I can't say I'm not thinking about it -- which is why I came here.

            Similarly, I don't know that I'm a good candidate for AA -- I'm not there yet. I don't know that I'm an alcoholic, and I don't know that I want to quit for good. I have tremendous respect for those who do, and sometimes I wonder what it must be like, to have put drug and alcohol addiction behind them and to live clean every day. But I have trouble picturing myself in that situation.

            I quit smoking over 13 years ago and I rarely think about it anymore. So maybe it would be like that. But that's not my priority right now. Thanks for listening, everybody. I appreciate it.

            Comment


              #7
              How are you making out baldguy ? I am lucky because the only thing I have ever be addicted to is smoking which I finally quit Nov 24th 2016. If you ask anybody at AA they will tell you that you are a true alcoholic. I don't agree with most of their mentalities they preach from a book they have never read its call the DSM Diagnostic and Statistical manual of Mental Disorders. They established AA's foundations on the DSM and Religion but I seriously doubt anybody today has read the book. It's like a religion, it constantly regurgitated differently. Don't get me wrong it is a good program that helps allot of people out in a great way. Here is my primary beef with this AA stuff. I you go to an AA meeting they will tell you it is a disease, but knowledge of the disease alcoholism comes from the DSM. The APA American Psychiatric Association classifies all mental illnesses in the book as disorders. "So one calls it a disease the other calls it a disorder so who is right" ?

              Actually AA technically got it right !!! However they have applied danger to the subject. Every part of my body is and organ in its own right. But for this exercise we will use the; Brain, Heart, Lungs, Kidneys, Bladder and so on. What most people don't know is if you look in the dictionary under the word Disease the meaning is; a malfunctioning organ of the body. Ironically the word Disorder is the 7th synonym for the word disease. What I am getting to is all mental health "Disorders" are in fact a true disease. The APA created the disorder concept way back in its beginnings because it sounds better to have disorder than it does to have a disease. If I told you you have a heart disease and we can fix it you would be like let's get it done. If I told you you have a brain disease and we can't fix it but we can medicate it you would be in shock. I understand their choice to use the word disorder for the comfort of the patient but is still wrong. There was my big rant. I too am 50 and drink sometimes everyday up to six beers a day. Am I an Alcoholic ? No because I can stop any time and sometimes for years without one craving. I drink Beer and Southern Comfort because I love the taste not to get high.

              Alcohol is a true depressant and will make you more depressed. I drink the most when I am about to have a depressive crash.

              Buddy mack.
              Last edited by Stenacron Man; January 29th, 2017, 03:07 PM.
              "If we new what we were doing we wouldn't call it research......" Albert Einstein

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by Stenacom man View Post
                How are you making out baldguy ...

                Buddy mack.
                Hey, thanks for your response -- I'm doing okay. A little anxious today, which is work-related, but I think I have things under control. 2 days left in this January challenge, and then I have to decide how I'm going to move forward. I know I don't want to be drinking daily, habitually, or mindlessly. And I don't like feeling out of control.

                Best,
                BG

                Comment


                  #9
                  That's AWESOME good for you giving up control of a habit is really tough. I just quit smoking after 35+ years this past November i think the 24th. To me it's not the end of the world to have a beer or two. But if your are getting depressed try to avoid it as much as you can. Drinking will make you feel better right away but not later it sneaks up on us than Bam we go dark. Keep in touch



                  Buddy mack.
                  "If we new what we were doing we wouldn't call it research......" Albert Einstein

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Hey BaldGuy, today is your last day of your January drinking ban. You did it! Way to go! Please stay in touch and let us know what you plan to do from this point on.
                    Neli

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Thanks Neli -- yep, it's the last day. I don't know what comes next, but I think it's going to be about limiting the when and with whom -- e.g., not alone on a weeknight, but if it's Tuesday and I'm out with a friend, then okay. And then limiting the amount, e.g., no more than two to begin with. As above, I do enjoy not feeling cloudy. Thanks for being here, folks -- much appreciated.

                      Buddy mack -- congrats on quitting smoking! I quit 14 years ago (after about a dozen years of it) and it was much harder than giving up alcohol. But I did miss having a support group to talk through things with. I had that when I quit smoking (at quitnet.com).

                      Glad to have found this forum -- it seems safe and quiet. I'll be around. :-)

                      BG

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Me to it is a great place to be here where we can talk freely cause that helps more than the meds. Smoke free is nice I even have smokes in the house I am keeping them to give to homeless people so they can use their daily collections for food and a couple beers.


                        Buddy mack.
                        "If we new what we were doing we wouldn't call it research......" Albert Einstein

                        Comment


                          #13
                          I worried about Baldguy it been a month without an answer God be with him
                          "If we new what we were doing we wouldn't call it research......" Albert Einstein

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Hey you guys I have found my answer! I found a forum for drinking in moderation. It's called Moderation Management. It's a great group. Lots of support and wisdom. Go to moderation.org. You won't believe it but I have actually completed 10 days of abstinence!!!! I'm aiming for 30 (as recommended by the program) and I think I can do it because of this wonderful community of people I'm in constant contact with. Check it out!

                            Comment


                              #15
                              congratulations Niel
                              "If we new what we were doing we wouldn't call it research......" Albert Einstein

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