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I don't know where to start.
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I don't know where to start.

Okay, so here I am. I joined this website a few weeks ago to ask some questions about anti-depressant medication. After a very bad experience trying medication, I realized that if I stopped drinking so much and starting exercising, maybe medication wouldn't be needed. I am an alcoholic, there isn't any question about it, I drink roughly 15 beers a night and I have done this for at least a year. I just don't know how to cut back or quit. I'm afraid to stop because of withdrawal, but I'm also afraid to check into rehab or something, because it would destroy my parents if I did. I don't think it's so bad that I really need rehab, I just need to know where to start trying to stop on my own. I can't sleep at night without  alcohol, I don't know what to do. I realize you guys probably hear this same story all the time, but I hope you don't mind hearing it once more. I need help. I don't want to go to AA due to their focus on a higher power (I recognize myself as an atheist) and I just don't know what else is out there. Any help would be appreciated. I realize I'm not alone, but most of the time during this struggle it feels like I am. Thanks for anything you can tell me.
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332074_tn?1229564125
First let me tell you that if you are drinking 15 beers a night, your parents probably already know you have a problem. Second, in AA it does not matter if your higher power is a twinkie, it is just realizing you can't do this on your own. Third, you will have some rough days and nights while you stopping, but those will get better in time, so stick with it.
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547573_tn?1234659310
Namaste,

From an alcoholics' perspective(I've been sober over 6 years), jml1986 is completely right especially about AA.  I don't care if you think you're an atheist, a higher power does not relate to God, as we know him. Your higher power can be most anything or anyone, but it's releasing your will to that power in the knowledge that you cannot control your alcohol use without help.  AA meetings vary, but at any meaning you'll find support and knowledge, through the experiences of others.
Alternatively, rehabiliation programs have out-patient programs as well as in-patient programs, so you should consider this.
And, finally(which you probably couldn't wait for) jnl1986 had a good point when he stated that your paarents probably already know you have a problem.
Take control of our life and do something before the situation becomes even worse.

Michael(Jikan)
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243614_tn?1266201137
Go to AA.  I was hesitant at first but i have found so much help and support there.  You will too.  
Also go see your dr.  I take Campral and it helps soooo much.  Look it up on your computer.  Get a script from you doc.  
Sounds like you must be young, so get help now before the beer ruins your life.  TJ
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Avatar_f_tn
pay heed to these comments left by these members!there are also Rational Recovery meetings in addition to AA....try them!
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554039_tn?1216857231
Ditto to all the above remarks; you're going to feel right at home in AA, regardless of your religious beliefs (or lack of them).  AA's "Big Book," originally written in l939, has a full chapter devoted to "We Agnostics."  The founders of AA didn't share the same "higher power" but they recognized that they had to acknowledge that they could not get sober on their own.  Alcoholics don't lack willpower (I laugh when I think of the lengths I would go to in order to get alcohol) they have a disease that makes their brain crave alcohol the way the body craves oxygen if you were to be suffocated.  At least with me, it was that bad. I couldn't live without it.  Now, after almost 4 years, I don't have any desire to drink and could be a bartender without being tempted.  I am allergic to alcohol; if I take the first glass of wine, I simply can't stop drinking; a chain reaction of the need for alcohol builds up until I've had two HUGE bottles of wine - I mean the biggest bottles made.  Don't make excuses - make it to a meeting. Go to a "closed" meeting, where everyone is an alcoholic, if you prefer. Look around and see a group of instant friends, of all ages (many in their 20's) who understand you totally. As we say in AA, I'll believe in you until you can believe in yourself, so just GO.
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553995_tn?1332022440
What would destroy your parents is irreversible damage done by your drinking.  
I have 13 years sober.  I thought I had another drunk in me.  Now I live with brain damage, liver damage, damaged hearts of loved ones and loss of trust.

You can dance around wether you can believe in a higher power or if you can handle withdrawel, well, how about just getting sober.

Put down the liquid bull---- and get back to life while it is still worth living!
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Avatar_m_tn
Thanks guys. It's nice to know there are people out there willing to try and help. I've been thinking a lot, and I have decided that I probably will try going to an AA meeting. If I don't like it, I can try something else, but if I do, then that's great. There isn't any harm in trying. I went to a website to find meetings in my area. I don't have any classes for a few weeks, so I'm free to go anytime. This is only somewhat related, but my sister was addicted to heroin for a while. She now attends regular meetings about it, and it seems to be working wonders for her. I feel like if she can get over that, then I can get over this. Once again, thank you so much for the support. I imagine I may need more in the time to come, but what you've already given me has meant a lot.
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554039_tn?1216857231
Go to different meetings until you find the one you feel most at home in, but while you're finding a home group, so every single day - at least once a day, and at the time you would normally be drinking. Speak up and share that you're new to AA and that if you weren't at the meeting, you'd probably be drinking right at the moment.  You don't have to make a long speech at all....just ask for help stopping and let the group support you. Go to a meeting any time you feel like you might slip.  Hang in there....we all know what you're going through -- and if I can stop drinking, anyone can.  Trust me. :>)  
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553995_tn?1332022440
That is the best news I have heard all week!!!!  Without going you would not have known what miracles are waiting for you around the corner!

When you go, listen good.  I was told to "Identify with the speaker don't compare".  Until I got that, I was stuck and made excuses for myself to drink.  

What it means is,  a person will share how much they drank, when they drank ie.in the a.m., they drank alone, etc.  Do not compare with these details, they don't matter.  What is important is that you identify with the feelings, the compulsion to drink, the need.

Best wishes, You have done your first step!
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Avatar_f_tn
great comments from ppl.....AA/NA helped me tremendously in my recovery...go listen and relate don't compare.and oh HELL yes if ur sister can beat heroin......hellish drug....u can conquer alcohol!
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554039_tn?1216857231
My son told me, when he was 25, that he was an alcoholic and that his new wife and the Coast Guard had given him an ultimatum that he stop drinking or get out -- so he stopped drinking. At that time, I wasn't an alcoholic,although I later learned that I had the "craving" problem when I drank. I was so proud of my son, and told him so. Was I shocked?  Absolutely.  But disappointed?  No way.  I was proud of him. He is still in the Coast Guard and  so successful that he's won many awards and commendations. And he's been sober for l2 years.

You do not have to hit rock bottom before you begin the turn-around process. Tell your parents -- show them the "doctor's opinion" that I've copied below and say "This article describes me when I drink. I'm going to AA so I can stop drinking now."  http://www.aa.org/bigbookonline/en_doctoropinion.cfm

The excerpt below was written in l939, and explains the illness of alcoholism, that might help explain your problem to your parents.  I've also provided the link to the chapter in the Alcoholics Anonymous about how Agnostics and Atheists can easily succeed in AA. (One of the two founders of AA referred to himself, originally, as an agnostic.)  

http://www.aa.org/bigbookonline/en_BigBook_chapt4.pdf -  "We agnostics."

Doctor's Opinion Excerpt:

"We believe, and so suggested a few years ago, that the action of alcohol on these chronic alcoholics is a manifestation of an allergy; that the phenomenon of craving is limited to this class and never occurs in the average temperate drinker. These allergic types can never safely use alcohol in any form at all; and once having formed the habit and found they cannot break it, once having lost their self-confidence, their reliance upon things human, their problems pile up on them and become astonishingly difficult to solve."

"Men and women drink essentially because they like the effect produced by alcohol. The sensation is so elusive that, while they admit it is injurious, they cannot after a time differentiate the true from the false. To them, their alcoholic life seems the only normal one. They are restless, irritable and discontented, unless they can again experience the sense of ease and comfort which comes at once by taking a few drinks—drinks which they see others taking with impunity. After they have succumbed to the desire again, as so many do, and the phenomenon of craving develops, they pass through the well-known stages of a spree, emerging remorseful, with a firm resolution not to drink again. This is repeated over and over, and unless this person can experience an entire psychic change there is very little hope of his recovery."  

Then there are types entirely normal in every respect except in the effect alcohol has upon them. They are often able, intelligent, friendly people.

All these, and many others, have one symptom in common: they cannot start drinking without developing the phenomenon of craving. This phenomenon, as we have suggested, may be the manifestation of an allergy which differentiates these people, and sets them apart as a distinct entity. It has never been, by any treatment with which we are familiar, permanently eradicated. The only relief we have to suggest is entire abstinence.

Here's the whole book:  http://www.aa.org/bigbookonline/en_tableofcnt.cfm

I'm sorry this is disjointed - I had to stop and start again.  You've already taken the first step, please take the next.  I'll pray for you (and it will work, I promise.)
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Avatar_m_tn
Wow, thanks again for all these comments. I went to an AA meeting today, although I was very late. The meeting was inside a large hospitable and nobody I talked to seemed to have any idea where it was. I just managed to catch the end of a talk a man was giving, and after it was over I introduced myself and we walked out to the parking lot together. He really sounded like he was doing well for himself after his recovery. I learned from the woman he was with (I think she was the one in charge of the whole thing, he was just giving a talk) that there is a AA "clubhouse" only about half a mile from my home, and when I looked it up online I found they are having a beginner session tomorrow night. I plan on going, so I can get a good feel for what it's all about. I've received nothing but great support from everybody I've talked to about getting better. In fact me and my sister had a long talk last night, and she I think was the final piece of the puzzle that encouraged me to go to a meeting. Just seeing a big room full of people, all whom know exactly what I'm going through was a pretty amazing feeling. I will still be checking this website everyday looking up information and other peoples stories, and I think it will be a big help. You all have been really awesome, I really do appreciate it. Thank you very much for your kind words and support.
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Avatar_f_tn
Ah cool!thats how i got started in 12 Step.....u keep going and listening!i found very good ppl that helped me in my journey!Wouldn't have what i have 2 day if it wasn't for their support and understanding!So much comfort being in those rooms with ppl who share our common affliction!Addiction!
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553995_tn?1332022440
My heart is filled up.  
Do you think it is a coincidence that there is a meeting 1/2 mi. from your home?
You walking outside with the speaker and that woman?
Be aware of the miracles happening.
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554039_tn?1216857231
I am so very pleased that you went to a meeting; all day at work I hoped I'd get home and see a post where you'd taken the first step.  If you didn't take a beginners "chip" today, then please take one tomorrow.  All is signifies is a desire to stop drinking. (I've gone to meetings all around the country when traveling, and they all have beginner's chip, so I'm assuming your group does, too.  If not, send me your address and I will send you one of mine.  Unfortunately, after I started AA's, I collected quite a few beginner's chips before I finally got it right. As you probably heard today:  "Keep coming back; it works if you work it."  (A chip is a poker chip that signifies where you are in the AA process; beginner, one month, and so on.  Always take the chip you've earned, and accept all the applause. The people clapping are really and truly probably happier for you, than you are for yourself.)
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498385_tn?1362453004
Aa has taught me to take a look at my life realisticly and take my part in my recovery. there is no magic cure only some resources that will show you how to live without the use of booze. It is up to you Are you sick and tired of being sick and tired???I wish you the best and peace. I too was an atheist at one time,You would be amazed at what happens when all the substances are out of your body and how your whole attitude and thought patterns change. It can happen.You are worth it.
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Avatar_f_tn
Love the actor Gary Oldman.haven't heard much about him so i googled him.He had his battles with alcohol that were well known.His portrayl of Simon the cooked whacked out DEA agent in The Professional was over the top.As i was reading about his personal life there was a blip that he got sober thru AA and credited it for saving his life.How cool is that?
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Avatar_m_tn
Hey guys, just wanted to give you an update as to where I am right now. I drank very heavily on Friday, probably one of the heaviest nights of drinking I've ever done. It kinda started because I had half of a mixed drink leftover in the fridge from the night before, and just decided to drink it. I have never drank right after I woke up until this. (keep in mind though I sleep in very late though, it was about 4:30 in the afternoon when I started.) So anyway, I convince one of my roommates to get drunk with me. This was a lot of fun, normally I drink by myself.

So anyway, I keep going and end up passing out at about 1 in the morning. I wake up at 7 in the morning feeling really good (still drunk) and I actually thought that I had slept until 7 in the afternoon. I call a few people to hang out and wonder why nobody is answering. I realize a little later that it's early morning. I'm too wired to go back to sleep, and decide to stay up. An hour or so later, the alcohol wears off, and the hangover from hell sets in. Let me tell you, I have never thrown up just from a hangover until this Friday. My roommate goes to the store to get me some saltines while I'm in the bathroom sick. I'm back and forth from my room to the bathroom every 20 minutes, barely able to eat the crackers. I'm also feeling to crappy to go back to sleep.

At that moment I realize it's time to get serious. I call my mom and ask if her or my dad can come get me from school. (I live in Cincinnati near my college) I'm too afraid to drive back home by myself. My dad comes and takes me home, and I come clean to them, explaining that I am addicted to alcohol, and would like to maybe go into rehab. I'm afraid to manage this by myself through going to AA meetings, I feel like I need to be under doctor supervision to watch and make sure the withdrawals aren't harmful. They were totally understanding, my mom knew that I drink, just not how much, although she didn't seem that surprised when I told her. Alcoholism runs in the family, so they were really sympathetic. As my dad put it, it's their job to make sure I am healthy and doing well. So anyway, I'm at home now, probably going to see my family doctor soon and look into a recovery program. Even though this story sounds bad, I really have been drinking less, only about half as frequently as normal. However, this one incident made me realize just how bad it could get if I kept going. Thanks for listening guys, I'll keep you posted on my progress.
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Avatar_f_tn
I am in Ohio 2!yeegads that drinking episode and the saltine crackers brought back memories to me of how i used 2 b!i hope u get in2 some inpatient....there was a story in our paper bout a 19 year old college girl in upstate NY who passed out on sofa after a nite of heavy drinking games.her roomies did the same,tried to wake her next day and she was dead of alcohol poisoning!
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554039_tn?1216857231
I'm so proud of you....you're going to be hearing that a lot, but every single person who tells you is being truthful with you -- we ARE proud. Without rehab I wouldn't still be sober after almost 4 years.  AA is wonderful, but it's not a place where I could figure out why I drank the way I did.  I finally learned that I had low grade depression my whole life. Not knowing it was depression, I called it being "bored."  It took alcohol to take away the boredom, even if I was on a wonderful vacation or in a situation that a person who wasn't depressed wouldn't have thought was boring.  Now I take antidepressants and my life is totally different.  I hope you can go to a residential rehab (there is a great one in Florida) so you can learn about yourself.  Aren't your parent's wonderful?  They love you so much, I can feel it down here.  Keep us posted, please...  And I'll be praying for you....
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi! I just wanted to let you know that I am in the same boat. I'v been an alcoholic for 6 1/2 yrs. now. It's really hard to just up and quit. Impossible actually. Some people have asked me "why don't you just quit?" I'v responded with "are you an achohlic? Do you know what a with drawal feels like? Are you in my shoes?" They have no clue how it feels! I started a Partial inpatient treatment program last tuesday though. Basically I go there 5 days a week for 7 hours and speak with several therapist. I was also diagnosed with major depression as well. They've prescribed me meds to help me sleep and to help with depression. So far I'v been clean and sober for 13 days. Withdrawals are hard to deal with but they do get better with time. If you ask me I would highly recommend a program, even if it's just out patient. Gotta start some where ya know. Thanks!!!
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554039_tn?1216857231
Clean and sober for l3 days is great....and it will get easier all the time.  I currently have l388 days....one day at a time.  Without treatment for depression, I couldn't have stopped drinking at all; now I have no alcohol cravings whatsoever -- none.  I hope it works as well for you, and that you keep up the good work.  You're so right about a rehab program, in my opinion. After rehab I went to AA meeting 378 straight days....and it really helped. Hang in there.....
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Avatar_f_tn
yes getting sober can be hard......but it is not impossible.....most of it lies between our 2 ears.....we can do what we tell ourselves to do and that means not drinking one hour atta time one day atta time......i thought i'd never stop my drinking/drugging and now 23 years has passed and its gone fast!The buddhists have a saying and it is so true...i think...pain and sufferring in this world is a given...there is so much of it indeed...but misery takes place tween our 2 ears!
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Avatar_m_tn
Friarygrad sent me a message to keep posted, so I will!

I'm doing quite well right now. 6 days sober and feeling really great. I stayed home visiting my parents until yesterday, when I came back I thought I would be tempted to drink, because I still have a full case of beer in the fridge here. But nope, I didn't even want to drink one bit. I don't really care if I have a drink tonight either, even though it's the weekend. If I do I only plan on having a couple with a few friends, but I certainly won't mind just staying totally sober instead. They all know I'm cutting down and they are happy for me. I got a few books about responsible drinking (one is called, if you'll believe it, "Responsible Drinking.") That book was written by the people who run the "moderation management" program online, which I am now a member of and have been actively involved in. Along with this site, they have been a great help to me. I have been feeling so good, eating 3 meals a day again finally, without any stomach pains. I finally have the time to read again, which I had lost due to being too drunk to read at night for so long. I can say quite simply that this last week or so has been one of the most eye opening I've ever had. I don't plan to quit drinking entirely, but I know I have a lot more control over it if I do. I feel so free right now. Alcohol is no longer the only thing I think about. I may not be posting on this website as frequently any longer, as I would like to take the time to focus on the moderation website, as well as devote myself to more reading. I will however send any of you updates in the future if you would like me to. I want to thank once again all of you. Even though you're all complete strangers, having your support in this time of need has meant as much to me as having the support of my friends and family. It gives me hope for humanity to know there are so many of us out there who genuinely care for one another, even if we don't know each other. As I mentioned earlier, I am not religious, but I deeply appreciate any prayers you may have had for me. I don't know if prayer works in the manner that God comes down to help, but I do believe that the simple act of prayer, it being a display of great compassion and love towards others, can really be of great help. Once again, I thank you all for your time and understanding. I would not wish what I went through these past few months on anybody, but I would certainly enjoy if others felt how I do right now.
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554039_tn?1216857231
http://www.aa.org/bigbookonline/en_BigBook_chapt2.pdf

I'm so glad you're doing so much better, and hope that you're one of the lucky people who can start down the road to a drinking problem, but stop in time. The Big Book of  AA talks about stopping in time, and I've included the link in case you want to read it. You're young, you're honest, you've reached out to your parents, and you're on your guard. It's the "honest" part that is going to serve you best.  Can you remember to also be humble, which AA defines as "teachable?"  If you find that when you go out with a plan to drink no more than 3 beers that you can't stop, will you come back to this site, and go back to AA.  I think you've figured out that your relationship with alcohol -- how often you think about it and plan your life around it -- is just as important as the actual quantity.  I don't know much about MM, except that the founder eventually relapsed and had an accident while intoxicated that caused deaths, and I believe she is in jail.  I have great faith in you, and do let us hear from you from time to time.  Remember that you're not REQUIRED to drink, even moderately.  Take care and I will continue to pray for you.  No, God doesn't "come down" -- he's already here,and there, right where you are.  Some people say to God, "Thy Will Be Done" and there are people to whom God says "Okay,have it your way."   I was one of the people doing it my way, and when things were going "my way" I was a hopeless alcoholic.  Going God's way brings a peace that you wouldn't believe.  If you could see God, standing right next to you, watching over you, would you worry about being "in charge" or would you be tempted to ask for a little help -- or a lot of help?  He IS  there, just ask for help, even if you only say, "I'm here, God."  And then listen.  Best of luck and please don't rule out quitting, the minute you realize that you are not controlling your drinking, it's controlling YOU.  :>)   Lots of love,
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