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Blackout Paranoia

I'm in my late twenties, my alcohol consumption is around 15 units per week, but on occasion (I would say 1 day per month) I inevitably end up binge drinking. During this episodes I experience fragmenary blackouts, usually the black spots occur in the latter half of the evening and usually involve me going off round a club and dancing, making an idiot out of myself, not violent.
On New Year's Eve I was with my wife and a friend in a bar, and had around 20 units of alcohol. I remember the evening with great clarity until my wife left -- to visit her relatives, around half-midnight, and my friend left shortly after, around 1am. The last memory I have is of standing at the bar by myself, at 1am, the barmaid telling me the bar was closed.
Next thing I know I wake up in ou apartment bed, alone (my wife stayed with her relatives that night as they are somewhat out of town), nothing out of the ordinary, except a soccer magazine next to me (so I guess I read when I came back). Nothing else. And no memory of that period between being told the bar had closed and waking up. Yet I am deeply paranoid and worried that something terrible happened, I think because this is the first time I have blacked out by myself and every other time a friend or wife has been with me and had been able to "fill me in" with details next morning of what stupid antics I got up to previous night. But with this incident, no witnesses except myself and therefore just a big black hole in my night. I am a naturally anxious person and diagnosed with OCD and panic disorder, and for the last forty-eight hours I have been worrying myself sick that somehow I got out of control, murdered or raped or assaulted someone, thinking about this over and over again, it is dominating my thoughts. I walked back past the bar the next day, can you believe, just to check if police tape had been set up anywhere along the route I assume I walked back to the apartment via. I have even considered phoning the cops and asking to see CCTV footage of my trip back to clarify what happened.
I have discussed this with my wife, she is a trainee psychotherapist, and she thinks i am being incredibly dramatic, not to mention illogical, and that my feelings of guilty over loss of self control and memory, and binge drinking, are manifesting themselves in this illogical fear of having committed some terrible crime during my blackout episode. I just wanted to know if other people have felt the same fear, had the same concerns, because I am just struggling to understand why this blackout is a source of so much more anxiety to me than previous episodes, which I have usually been able to just shrug off. I mean, maybe subconsciously, although I can't remember an incident as such, perhaps the feeling of guilt and fear from such an incident is manifesting itself in me? Or is it impossible to commit some kind of violent crime or assault without at least a fragmentary memory of it? Please let me know your thoughts, as I said, I am a natural, obsessive worrier, spend most of my days worrying if, for example smoking cigarettes will give me multiple sclerosis or if I am already riddled with cancer etc and hard to focus on work during such states.
32 Responses
Avatar universal
Everyone feels a certain amount of guilt and paranoia after an incident like this.   If you have an anxiety disorder, it just makes it worse.  Use this as motivation to quit binge drinking in such large quantities.  Tell yourself "I never want to be out of control again".  This type of thing can help you if you use it correctly.

If there was a horrific crime, I think you would have heard about it by now.  After 20 drinks, I think that most people would be 3 sheets to the wind.  
455167 tn?1259261471
hi. your fears are not unfounded. among other things, i drove and had no recollection the next day. it's by the grace of god i didn't kill anyone or myself. but some are not as fortunate. i knew of a guy that used to just get drunk on the weekends who would occasionally get locked up for the night for public intox. or other minor infraction. then one morning he came to in the jail expecting to be released as usual after sobering up. instead the deputy informed him that he wasn't going anywhere as he had killed someone during an argument in a blackout. if your drinking is causing you concern, it may be for a reason. best of luck---gm
Avatar universal
Thanks guys. I spoke about this at length with my wife and friends and they all said they feel the same sort of feelings (though not to the heightened, obsessive extent I experienced them) after blacking out drunk alone. They all agreed, though, that if I had woken up in a police cell, I'd have reason to be worried, but I woke up in my bed, no sign of physical harm on myself or anything, so I may well have done something stupid and perhaps even embarrassing, but nothing worse than that. I think you're both right, though, that I should use this as a motive to curtail excessive drinking and moderate my behaviour so I avoid any more situations like that in future.
Thanks again for your help.
717002 tn?1230253512
Personally I know how scary that can be.  For the first year or so, my blackouts were pretty harmless, just stupid dancing or passing out on someone's couch.  But they eventually got violent, usually provoked by arguments with my ex-boyfriend.  One night I trashed the entire apartment, even some of my own stuff, and that REALLY was one of the worst nights ever...  

You probably didn't do anything too crazy if you woke up in your own bed.  Usually in our druken stupor, we leave *some* evidence behind.
Avatar universal
I know exactly what you're talking about.  I have anxiety and panic disorder (which I take Klonopin for), so when I drink to the point I black out, I wake up the next day feeling INCREDIBLY guilty, ashamed of myself, and I always feel like there HAD to have been something terrible I said or did the night before. I think that also stems from those days I did wake up and people were mad at me for being out of control, mean and/or obnoxious.  It's like I wake up with this need to apologize to someone for something, but can't remember anything from the night before.  

I drink every other day.  At least 2 or 3 nights a week, I black out.  Apparently I'm still functioning, I just don't remember what I did or what I said or where I went.  (At least now I make sure I have a designated driver.)  It's the frequent blackout episodes that are pushing me to try to become sober.  It's embarrassing to me.

And for the record, I rarely take my Klonopin.  A 30 day supply lasts me more than 6 months.  I don't know why I have an addiction to alcohol, but not Klonopin.  I try really hard to remember not to drink when I take one, but sometimes I forget that I've taken one, or it just doesn't click.  That's when the blackouts are the worst and last the longest.  I do realize that those can be a deadly combination, which is why I try so hard to avoid combining the two.
455167 tn?1259261471
ya, be careful mixing the two. if you are alcohol dependent then you are at a very high risk of developing similar conditions with other things, especially benzodiazepines and other cns depressants. a lot of folks become "cross-addicted" or end up substituting one for the other as they have similar effects. i know for me, putting down the alcohol was never a problem as long as i had a substantial amount of valium or xanax on board. take care, gm
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