Alcohol Dependence

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Alcohol Dependence
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    Community Voices

    I’m Fighting off a Relapse

    The prescription bottles in my medicine cabinet are talking to me, my esophagus is craving the burn of alcohol, and every sharp edge gets a little too close to my skin.

    The sun is a little too bright, and happiness is a little too sweet. Life is so boring without drugs.

    My sobriety clock is haunting me. The numbers are holding me hostage and taunting me. I’m watching the seconds tick time away, counting down to when I lose this battle.

    The chips in my drawer are a useless reminder of bad coffee and uncomfortable chairs. The months they represent have lost their meaning. I’d rather use them for poker.

    I’m starting to forget why I’m sober. This isn’t what I thought it would be like. Were the nights I can’t remember really so bad? Do I really care about my damaged body? Do I really need any friends and family around to judge me? Was any of this worth it?

    I don’t want to relapse… but it feels like everything that’s supposed to help is turning against me.

    #AddictionRecovery #Addiction #Depression #Anxiety #Selfharm #OpioidAddiction #AlcoholDependence

    7 people are talking about this

    Ways Alcohol Might Affect Your Depression or Anxiety

    Long before I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety, I was a typical student — I’d have a drink between classes, or drink with friends on a Friday night. For the most part, this was OK. Alcohol helped release my inhibitions, and I had a good time. But if I was already feeling depressed, I’d usually end the night in tears. If I was already feeling anxious, I’d retreat into a socially detached shell, watching from a distance while everybody else had fun. Then there’s the morning after, and the crushing anxiety that I’d said or done something “weird” — thanks, bullying trauma — and “made a fool of myself.” Alcohol is a double-edged sword. After my father died, I relied on it a little too much to get me through, and I know, looking back, that there was a dangerous time when I could’ve gone over that edge into alcohol dependence. After that, I stopped drinking as much. I only drink occasionally, now — typically at home, thanks to COVID-19 — and only for the enjoyment of it. I know that it affects my mental health, so keeping it at one or two is enough for me to still enjoy the taste, or the slight buzz it gives. I’m not alone in this experience. That’s why we asked our Let’s Talk Depression group how alcohol affects their depression or anxiety. No matter what, it’s important to practice safe drinking, and to reach out to someone you trust if you think you might have a problem. Here’s what they said: “If I have a drink with dinner, or occasionally two, I don’t notice any difference. More than that and I’ll often end up crying about something. Wine especially makes me sad drunk. I have to be careful about that.” — @karaskernel “Every time without fail, escaping or numbing with alcohol , or even just enjoying a glass of wine with dinner, will escalate low-grade depression. When I’ve had a couple of days with low energy, I know what’s around the corner and I avoid alcohol.” — @tkaufman61 “I rarely drink alcohol but when I do, I drink to get drunk because it makes me feel lighter and not so worried about others’ opinions. The only issue I have is if I do start having more negative thoughts, and I am very drunk, I’m more likely to have panic attacks. If I am in a bad headspace, like recently when the person who practically raised me passed away, I drink until I am blackout drunk because I haven’t found many better ways to cope (but I don’t do this often).” — @kimmy13141516 “I was quite a big drinker and used it to block things out or relax, but I recently developed psychosis and if I drink, it brings it on. I can’t sleep after I drink as I’m all wired up. For the first time ever, I’m happy to lay off the drinking at least ’til I sort myself out.” — @leonafightson “I hear voices, so I was drinking heavily to escape the constant drone (voices all day, every day for years). It wasn’t the best way to cope, and a couple of times it was too much and dangerous. Now I’m on better medication and the voices are less intense so I have a glass of wine and feel a little more mellow than usual.” — @tfp335 Did you know? Alcohol affects the brain’s production of the neurotransmitters responsible for happiness: dopamine and serotonin. By making the brain produce more, alcohol makes you feel happy and carefree. Then, the next day, the brain can feel a deficit of these neurotransmitters, thus making you feel depressed. “I don’t drink anymore, but it always seemed to have a neutral effect on me. I stopped drinking because I seemed to only reach for alcohol when I was sad and alone at home. My grandpa was an alcoholic, so I always had a fear of relying on it too much.” — @rubibleu857 “I used to self-medicate with alcohol in my teens and early 20s and things got more than a little wild at times. I did some things that I am deeply ashamed of, so I went to AA and got sober. I have been sober for 37 years now, but it hasn’t been smooth sailing as there have been a number of times where I was very tempted to drink.” — @lady2882 “My depression and anxiety used to be so bad that I couldn’t start a college paper, so I would use alcohol to self-medicate to just get a first draft done. I’m medicated for my depression and anxiety since then and doing much better now. I’ll drink socially (when going out was a thing pre-pandemic) or at home, and I might overindulge when bored or depressed, and then I’m the happiest drunk. Certain types of alcohol tend to give me a headache or trigger migraine so I need to be careful, and if I already have a headache or migraine then drinking anything will make them worse.” — @alexandria_ “Alcohol doesn’t seem to affect my depression negatively or positively. However, since my anxiety and panic disorder diagnosis, I’ve cut back when I do drink because it increases my health anxiety if I get to the ‘tipsy’ feeling.” — @rediscoveringlo “Two years ago I would drink anything at any time. I’m an alcoholic. Drinking made my PTSD, bipolar, depression… everything worse. At the time, I didn’t believe alcohol was making me feel worse. I had to attempt suicide several times before I realized it. I’m 62 and just learning about mindfulness and other helpful things. I’m slow but sure and no more drinking.” — @tanyadavidson Does alcohol affect your depression, anxiety, or another aspect of your mental health? Check out the following articles, and let us know your experience in the comments below. I’m Turning to Drinking Again as My Mental Health Gets Worse Alcohol Use Disorder Is About Why You Drink, Not How Much You Drink 8 Signs Your Pandemic Drinking Has Become a Problem

    Leaving Your Parent After Years of Their Substance Use

    I might have been yours when I was 6 months old and couldn’t feed myself. I might have been yours when I was 1 year old and learning to walk. I might have been yours when I was 2 years old and couldn’t cross the street by myself. I might have been yours when I was 3 years old and learning to use the potty. I might have even been yours when I was 4 and learning to ride a two-wheeler or 5 and starting kindergarten. I might have been yours when I was 6 and scared of the dark. I might have been yours when I was 7 years old and had an earache. I might have been yours when I was 8 and 9 and 10 and learning to navigate the world.   But I wasn’t yours when you left me alone by myself all those nights. And I wasn’t yours when you were stumbling around the streets. And I wasn’t yours when you told me I was “annoying” because I said I loved you. I wasn’t yours when you took me away from my entire family. I wasn’t yours when you got drunk and threw my Christmas presents away. I wasn’t yours when you attempted suicide and blamed me. And I wasn’t yours when you stole my medication after I had surgery. I wasn’t yours when you let your girlfriend kick me out of the house. I wasn’t yours when you locked yourself in your room for days at a time. And I wasn’t yours when you left for Atlantic City without telling me. I wasn’t yours when you didn’t teach me how to drive. I wasn’t yours when you didn’t help me with my period. I wasn’t yours when you forgot to teach me about love and sex and how they go together — but even more importantly, how they don’t. I wasn’t yours when you showed up drunk to my high school graduation. I wasn’t yours when you left before they called my name.   I wasn’t yours then, and I’m not yours now.   I’m not yours when I’m studying hard to do my best in graduate school. I’m not yours when I make a good play at shortstop. I’m not yours when I take my medication in the morning or when I go to sleep at night. I’m not yours when I’m planning to have a child. I’m not yours when I think about doing life the right way. I’m not yours when I leave for work every day. I’m not yours when I give life everything I have. I’m not yours when I kiss my husband goodbye. And I’m not yours when he says “I love you” back. I’m not yours when I think about how you’ve hurt me. And I’m not yours when I have flashbacks at night. I’m not yours when I talk about you in therapy. And I’m not yours as I move forward with my life.   I was yours when it had to be that way. I was yours when I had no choice.   But now, I am older, I am wiser, I have a choice, and I am not yours. I am mine.

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    Finding Connection on My Alcohol Dependence Recovery Journey

    I can still see the flashing sirens and twisted metal left in my wake the second time I ever drank alcohol. I foolishly got behind the wheel of my mother’s car and flipped it. Luckily,  no one was hurt. Although I experienced significant consequences from my drinking early on and knew my relationship with alcohol was unhealthy, I found I couldn’t stop drinking. However, it wasn’t until years later that I was diagnosed with alcohol dependence by a healthcare provider. That’s when I learned alcohol dependence is a chronic disease that can make it hard to stop drinking and cause problems with family, friends, and work. But it took me years to understand that and to get the help I needed. Growing up in Texas, as one of just a few young Black kids in my town, I never felt like I fit in. I would do anything to make friends and to feel a sense of belonging. Once I was a young adult, feeling included often meant drinking. I feel like alcohol is so normalized and ever-present in our culture that people tend to notice when you don’t drink more than when you do drink. Among my friends, drinking was social currency, so for a fleeting time, my hard-partying ways seemed to earn me the acceptance I sought. But soon, my drinking stopped being the solution to my problems; it was the problem. Though many of my friends drank, I drank to the point that I blacked out. I also let alcohol replace activities I used to enjoy. My friends noticed, expressed concern, and warned me to cut back. One friend even said, “You’re drinking too much, and that’s saying a lot, coming from us.” I didn’t heed the warnings, and the consequences piled up. I couldn’t hold down a part-time job. My grades suffered. My friendships did too. Eventually, I dropped out of college. I vividly remember “the moment” — the moment when I knew something had to change. I was sitting in a crowded bar but felt totally alone. I had an epiphany on that barstool: though my desire to make connections and friendships drove me to drink in the first place, it ultimately made me feel isolated. It was then that I knew I needed help but wasn’t sure where to turn. In the Black community, I found that there isn’t a lot of talk about alcohol dependence as a disease or conversation about people seeking help for their drinking. But I was lucky to have an ally, a spiritual advisor who cared about me. He helped me to break through the stigma and shame and to be open about my struggles with drinking. He said, “This is not something that we’re going to ignore and pretend doesn’t exist.” Instead, he embraced me and encouraged me to talk to a healthcare provider who diagnosed me with alcohol dependence. I learned that treatment is available, and I didn’t have to go it alone. Everyone’s recovery journey is unique. Talk to your healthcare provider if you have questions about your drinking patterns or alcohol dependence. My healthcare provider and I decided on a treatment plan that was right for me. When I was drinking heavily, I had given up a lot of activities I once enjoyed. One of those was being out in nature. Hiking, camping, and exploring were all great parts of my childhood and adolescence that I had left behind. Rediscovering this passion has been an important part of my recovery journey. Something else that has helped me along my recovery journey is supporting others who are struggling with alcohol dependence. I decided to go back to school to become a licensed substance abuse counselor. It was there that I met my wife. Then a few years ago, I moved on to embark on a new chapter as an entrepreneur. I wanted to help people who might be struggling to hopefully find the connection I had always sought. Today, I run a business — a bar with no alcohol — and lead camping trips for people who want to connect with each other and nature without drinking. At this point in my journey, I feel like my life is filled with possibilities and purpose. I have more room for the things that are important to me. I am grateful for the meaningful relationships with my family and true friends, who see me for who I am and appreciate the recovery journey I am on. To learn about alcohol dependence and explore whether it might be time to rethink your relationship with alcohol, please visit www.myrelationshipwithalcohol.com . This story is Chris’s alone and does not represent all people living with alcohol dependence. The information included is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Always talk to your healthcare provider. Chris has been compensated for his time. Alkermes ® is a registered trademark of Alkermes, Inc. UNB-003350

    Community Voices
    Adam Burak

    Finding Confidence and Empowerment in Five Years of Sobriety

    As I reflect on what 1,826 days without alcohol means to me, I struggle to know where to start. Words typically come fairly easy to me and I usually have a lot to say. The accomplishment of reaching five years without alcohol has been difficult to put into words, which simply shows how much this feat means to me. I don’t know where to start because there are so many reasons that I am thankful that I continue to not drink. No hangovers, spending less money, not making poor decisions, and being my true and authentic self are just some of the beautiful changes to my life I have experienced. When I quit drinking on Sunday, October 30, 2016, I had no idea the profound effects my decision would have on my life. Quitting drinking and abstaining from alcohol was a necessary decision for me to be able to live my life in the way I wanted and accomplish my goals. If I didn’t quit drinking, I don’t know where I would be or what I would be doing because I was not the person I know I am or aspired to be when I was drinking. I knew I would begin to get to a better place mentally and start to feel better about the way I was living my life after I stopped drinking. What I didn’t know was how stopping drinking alcohol would bolster my confidence and self-esteem, completely change my view of myself, create deeper relationships with my friends and support system, and begin my journey of feeling comfortable talking about my feelings and emotions and working to destigmatize mental health in society. All these changes I have observed in myself are why I find it hard to put into words what these last five years have meant to me. I can’t express how thankful I am that I was able to make this decision and stick to it throughout the last five years. To all those people in my life who accepted my decision and who will always love me no matter what, I will never be able to repay you for your love and support. You are everything to me and I love you all. People are always shocked when I tell them that during my journey quitting alcohol that I never received anybody pressuring me to drink or anybody who judged me for being “weird” or being a “loser.” To have that level of support and acceptance while making a super challenging decision was a large part of what allowed me to push through and stick to my decision. I can’t be more thankful for all the people that allow me to be me. After five years without alcohol, I am living as my authentic self and am so thankful as every day my decision is reaffirmed. I will end with a message of hope to anyone who may be currently struggling with alcohol or substance dependence. I didn’t realize the empowerment and confidence that could come from making the decision to be sober. When you make a similar decision, you have the opportunity to improve yourself in ways you can’t anticipate and allow yourself to be closer to the place you want to be. My pragmatic advice on beginning to become sober: start slowly and talk to someone about how you’re feeling. Nobody will judge you for trusting them and being vulnerable enough to open up to them. Your friends and family just want you to be happy with the life you are living and will support you in whatever you do. Once you understand that you will have support deciding to take a break or quit a negative habit, making the change won’t feel as daunting and can help you feel better. Here’s to the next five years!

    Community Voices

    How do I deal with an alcoholic who is abusive... but still maintain contact with their significant other

    THIS MAY BE A TRIGGER FOR ANYONE WHO HAS EXPERIENCE LOVED ONES WITH ALCOHOL ABUSE ISSUES...OR GREW UP WITH ALCOHOLISM.... OR EMOTIONAL ABUSE

    I currently have a friend ( I will call him Joe)I met because he is friend with my husband. Recently I met his fiancée (I will call her Jane). Both of there own admission, not my judgments are alcoholics. Joe takes total responsibility for his behaviors when he is drinking... makes 0 excuses for himself... has never been aggressive or violent in my presence or when living with my husband and I for around a year. Jane blames all her behaviors on her drinking takes little to no responsibility. I have heard her be physical and verbally abusive to Joe.

    Fast forward 2 months ... Joe is in ICU, on a ventilator and is medically sedated. His kidneys have shutdown and his liver is failing.

    One more than one occasion Jane has called or texted so emotionally distraught that my husband and I have to talk to her for long periods of times to calm her down, and even once we had to call ambulance because she attempted suicide... Fortunately she was reached in time.

    After these episodes anytime I try to explain how hurt she mad me feel because of the mean abusive things she said to me.... she first says well I was drunk... I don't remember.. she will give me an I'm sorry, which in my opinion she does just to divert attention from her.

    Next she will reach out to my husband saying how mean I am to her... how selfish...etc.

    Please keep in mind the time period I am discussing is within the last 3 weeks... 10 days of it being when Joe is in hospital. Thankfully in the last few days he is off ventilator, out of complete sedation and his liver has began to work some. He will remain on dialysis because his kidneys no longer function.

    Jane's behavior is triggering for me because her actions are exactly how my mom, maternal grandmother and paternal aunt behaved when and after drinking. I want to be their for my husband and Joe but cannot deal with any of Jane's drama.

    I know I am being selfish but I can't deal with the flashbacks, anxiety and anger it's triggering in me.

    I don't know how to handle this! #AlcoholAbuse #AlcoholDependence #EmotionalAbuse #PTSD #Anxiety

    4 people are talking about this
    Community Voices

    Warriors fighting battles you can not see need to be respected based on what they say, not how things may appear!

    <p>Warriors fighting battles you can not see need to be respected based on what they say, not how things may appear!</p>
    11 people are talking about this
    Community Voices

    Chronic illness diagnosis, how to cope with anger and negativity? #ChronicPain #Arthritis #AlcoholDependence

    I am 31 and have had chronic undiagnosed pain for 5 years. 2 weeks ago I was diagnosed w psoriatic arthritis.

    I used to drink a lot, probably every day, to temporarily relieve the pain and the anger—I felt like my chronic pain was robbing me of my life and like I was a more pleasant person a little drunk than sober.

    Now, bc of a new rx my pain is significantly better some days, but I am still angry, even more so than before. I stopped drinking heavily in February, but as my anger and rage curdle from knowing this arthritis is lifelong I find myself wanting to drink to calm down. I’m holding back from drinking, but now I’m spewing my anger on family and a potential significant other. Some days I hate everything, want to trash my apartment and berate my mom and this almost boyfriend. What can I do w my anger? How do I calm down and release this toxic energy?

    I’m seeing a therapist, starting PT, going to acupuncture, but does anyone have any more immediate ideas for channeling my rage?

    Ideas and advice appreciated 🙏🏼

    5 people are talking about this