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Avatar universal

Getting off alcohol

I've finally decided after very heavy drinking for about the last 2 years, ever-increasing tolerance, and lying to myself and those around me that I have to quit.  I'm planning on trying the home detox method by gradually cutting back, giving the bottle to my guy when he goes to work (I work at home doing transcription).  I have a prescription for Klonopin that I can refill next week and figured this would help some with the jitters.  

Lately, I've been drinking about a 5th a day to every 3 days.  I'm not sure if I'll be able to do this without going through a hospital, but I'm going to try.

Any suggestions from you guys would be very much appreciated.

By the way, this is my first post, and I'm glad I found this place!
92 Responses
Avatar universal
i am sorry, i know nothing about this. i am in a bit of a mess myself here. i do not drink every day. but that is only because i am hung over. so is it going to be dangerous for me to quit? i have really killer hangovers. no sleep, anxiety, and racing heart.
Avatar universal
I used to have hangovers but not anymore.  I do drink nearly every day and have gotten sick on my stomach, throwing up, etc., but don't have hangovers as I used to.  Now, I have the "shakes," the anxiety, and the racing heart, also.  It's just misery.  

Well, I guess I wasn't much help, but I appreciate the input, and it's good to know you're not alone.  Thank you brocknbck.  Maybe we can help each other.
Avatar universal
yes i have always tried to avoid drinking on a hangover. or the morning drink. but have done it quite a bit the last 2 weeks. i went through 3 bottles of wine and almost a fifth of vodka last nite. oh man do i feel terrible.

but it is the shakes and anxiety and racing heart that bothers me. and cannot sleep. so i think these are signs of withdrawl and it is time to get off this rollercoaster. i did not trade in an addiction to pain killers for this. hah but i guess i did.

so i think i may be alright doing this at home. but maybe you are in some danger there.
i really just don't know anything about this. but i have heard that you cannot just quit drinking at home alone and need to be in somewhere. but are we that bad yet?

it would be nice if someone more experienced could help us a little here- huh
Avatar universal
I am not qualified to help either of you but I wanted to suggest that you check back here tomorrow.  We have 2 very, very qualified and knowledgeable people who regularly read the posts and advise.  I saw they weren't on tonight so I wanted to encourage you not to give up but to check back tomorrow.  

Their knowledge is always worth it.
455167 tn?1259261471
hello. abrupt cessation of alcohol consumption can be potentially life-threatening. depending on many different factors, you may be at risk of having seizures or suffering from a condition called delirium tremens. i spoke with a gentleman thursday night who is presently in a treatment center who has had 4 seizures while hospitalized. he now has neurological damage that may or may not be reversible. i have had both seizures and experienced d.t.s and they're not things to be taken lightly. a mild benzodiazepine such as klonopin will assist with some of the effects you mentioned, but it should be administered under the advice of a doctor. there are other parameters to consider such as pre-existing health issues, so the best thing to do would be to seek a physician's advice. properly monitored and medicated, you can likely be detoxed safely in a matter of days, but going it alone is dangerous. hope this is helpful and please keep posting. take care,  gm
Avatar universal
As usual boogieman is right on with the sound advice that I hope u 2 follow!with what the two of u drink detoxing at home could prove fatal.please keep us posted on what u decide to do!
Avatar universal
well i am just too sick to even think about drinking. are you suppose to like wean off the alcohol like you do drugs? i have poured out all the alcohol in my house. my friend here is helping a little. he said i shouldn't of done that. cause my body needs it....

going to a doctor is something i just will not do. i don't trust them and have no insurance or job. the herbal teas are helping alot with the anxiety and racing heart stuff. i am in pretty good health. eat really good, exersize , take vitamins and all. hah just beating the hell outta myself with the alcohol. i smoke way too much too though and that is not good on my heart.

so are there like warning signs of seizures? and what are these dilireum tremers? i go hiking in the mountains when i am not hungover. so maybe i should stay off the mountains for awhile? how long does it take to get your body on track again?
455167 tn?1259261471
hi. the threshold is different by individual, but the last time i had a withdrawal seizure, it had been 7 days since my last drink. if you can do a controlled taper, (i never could), try to have someone close by who knows what you're doing such as your friend. if things get really bad, go to the er and they can give you ativan or similar medication to help keep you somewhat stable. i wouldn't recommend driving, or any activity that could be dangerous if you blacked out, for at least ten days without any booze.

there are no clear warning signs of an impending seizure. delirium tremens has several potential complications, including vivid hallucinations, psychosis, increased vital signs, cardiac arrest and stroke. i'm forwarding some video links in a pm you can check out to show how bad it can get. take care,   gm
Avatar universal
so thanks for the videos. pretty scarry stuff eh.

so i am starting to feel alright now and no drinks since 4 am sat. the regular thing to do would be to drink tomorrow. if i am having no symptoms, then it is alright to continue no drinking? and if i do maybe i should have a glass or 2 of wine?
Avatar universal
i am chuckling here....spoken like a true alcoholic....u r thinking of having a glass or 2 of wine?the regular thing to do is to drink 2 morrow?with all the hell u have just described caused by ur drinking???i qualified for both AA and NA...cool saying in NA....Insanity is repeating the same mistakes and xpecting different results!
Avatar universal
ok now i am confused.
i am just not going to drink. not going to any doctor. some people say to wean off, ahh its dangerous to just quit at home, go see a doctor.......whatever.
i really don't like the idea of weaning because i will probably just keep drinking. that is pretty much what the whole problem has been all along.
i just never knew what was involved with being an alcoholic and quitting.

there was an aa meeting i went to out here when i got my dui. it was a pretty decent group and i felt out of place because i did not have the horror stories i was hearing back then. but i think i will feel more in place this time and see if they still meet. they could probably give me some good answers.
Avatar universal
Thanks so much for all of the sound advice.  I plan to do a gradual taper and have already cut my consumption quite a bit.  I can see, though, that I might have to go to detox.  I lost my health insurance, but there are 2 hospitals which say one can detox for free, and they're both close-by.  I've cut down since Saturday from almost a fifth every day to 3 days, and there's still almost 3/4 of the fifth left.  I haven't started the day with a drink since, well, yesterday.   Considering that having a drink was the first thing I would do every day (even getting up in the middle of the night to have a drink), I've made a teeny bit of progress, having 6 shots Saturday, 5 shots yesterday, instead of the usual, almost a fifth.  I truly don't want this in my medical record if it's at all possible to keep it out, with good reasons.  

If I see I  just can't do it, I'll just go check myself in and let them help me go cold turkey.  

I did have difficulty sleeping Saturday night and last night with only a few hours each night.

I am determined not to let the old excuses back in...and, as we all know...it doesn't take much to make one say, "Oh to hell with it, nobody cares anyway."  Chuckling myself here now.

Avatar universal
How can I get to the video link?   Thanks so much.
191241 tn?1244395381
Ya'll Do have a wee point about not wanting the alcoholic label on your medical chart....now every problem I have, (and I had plenty of medical issues BEFORE I drank...part of the reason why I began to drink), gets blamed on the alcohol......even my newly "gifted" seizures....even though I have a myriad of other medical issues and a positive history for head injury...I saw on my chart where my neuro listed alcoholism as the cause of my seizures....even though I began to seize almost 2 MONTHS after I stopped drinking...and that I had a history of migraine and other neurological issues that could have led up to epilepsy.....my point being that I wish I could have detoxed on my own and left THAT part of medical history in my closet, (right in there with my childhood abuse, 2 abusive marriages and a multitude of other "stuffed" items)

Good luck to all ya'll in your journey......I wish I could give THESE shoes a rest for a bit......
Avatar universal
are you still having trouble sleeping?
i just kinda got disgusted and disregarded everyones advice and went to my brother. he is a yoga teacher, holistic healer and all that kind of stuff.
so he told me to break out the herbal teas.

for calming down and sleeping- one that has
         passionflower, linden, catnip, valarian root,chamomile, hops -yes hops.
so it really calmed my heart down and the panic. and after 2 cups put me to sleep. hah- it really makes you drowsy. saved my sanity this weekend.
i cannot be sure it is safe for everyone, but it worked fine on me.

you sound pretty determined and i hope it all goes good for you.

455167 tn?1259261471
hi. hope you guys are doing better, and it sounds like you're willing to do what is necessary. i'll post the links on a journal entry so anyone can see them. take care, gm
Avatar universal
This week has been pretty good but not good enough.  I made the bottle last from Saturday until last night (Wednesday).  I dunno...I've just been "down" this past week.  

Yes, I'm still having trouble sleeping.  I have tried catnip teas along with the rest, but they just weren't very helpful to me.  

One of my main problems is that I really LIKE to drink.  I love the initial rush and that feeling it gives me, but then that's what got me into this mess to begin with.  Couple liking to drink with some severe life-changing events, and I let it get way out of hand.  My determination waxes and wanes, but I have to do this, for myself and for my family.  The bottle is now empty, and I'm not sure how I'm going to handle this....go out for more and keep trying to cut down or just go cold turkey.  More than likely, I'll get another bottle.

BTW:  The bottle wasn't a fifth; it was a half-gallon.

One positive note, though, is that I haven't been drunk at all for a week.
Avatar universal
I forgot to mention to you.... exactly what you posted is the reason one doesn't want "alcoholism" or "alcohol abuse" on your medical record.  Everything that goes wrong is blamed on drinking.  I worked at a university medical center in gastro for 9 years, and I know the attitudes of doctors when it comes to patients who drink.  
455167 tn?1259261471
hello. i can relate. i loved to drink. i loved the taste of liquor, the way it would burn going down, the warm glow it produced after a few drinks----but most of all i liked the numbing effect. it made it possible for me to do what i couldn't do myself unaided. it gave me a perceived higher level of thinking and social interaction.

then things started to change. i no longer wanted it, i needed it to function. without it i was completely withdrawn and unable to even answer the phone. this took me to some very dark places of desperation. a real alcoholic will improvise even if it means drinking mouthwash or rubbing alcohol mixed with fruit juice. i was up to a half gallon of vodka a day, and i couldn't go more than 2 hours without consuming several gulps out of the bottle. i would seek out sleep, but it was never there. best i could do was to pass out for an hour or so only to wake up shaking and full of restlessness and fear. if for some reason i ran out, i would begin to have auditory hallucinations and a feeling of dread that was indescribable. this was on top of the shaking that comes from the inside and the cold sweats. if enough time went by i might have a seizure, which would do a lot to convince anyone around me that i really needed a drink. by this time, also, i could no longer get drunk. couldn't get drunk and couldn't get sober. that was when suicide began to look like a viable option. the more i drank, the more i cried and shook. i was at the gates of insanity and death i had heard about long before.  

even once hospitalized, i would sometimes still go into d.t.s and would have to be taken to a psychiatric facility, as the line between reality and imagination would begin to disappear. only massive doses of haldol and ativan would keep me stable, but they also turned me into a zombie like creature, functioning at the lowest levels of consciousness.

every time i think about taking a drink today, (and believe me, i do), i think back to what i have endured and barely survived as a result. i have to do certain things on a regular basis like keep tabs on my emotions and reactions, i have to improve my spiritual condition, and i help others. these things make up an insurance policy that no doctor, priest, judge, family member, or object of affection ever could teach me. sometimes we almost have to die to learn how to live.

i hope you continue to strive for sobriety and keep posting. there is a solution, and as long as you have a desire to get sober, there is hope. take care,    gm
Avatar universal
You've really been down a long, hard road, my friend.  I really admire you, and you've given me hope!  I didn't go buy a bottle today, gm.  

What you have described is exactly the way I am about alcohol.  I don't want to go anywhere or talk to anyone, even to the point of not wanting to answer the phone.  I'm not up to the amount of alcohol you described, but I can see myself getting there quickly.  Several days ago, I got up and went for the vodka and took a shot.  It immediately came back up, and I had to run for the bathroom.  What did I do?  I let the burning subside some and then diluted another shot with cold water and chased it down with more cold water so I could keep it down.  As I was sitting on the bathroom floor, dry heaving, shaking and sweating all at the same time, I just shook my head and wondered where it would all end.  

Thing is, I want to be sober, but I still want to be able to drink in moderation.  Sad, huh.....But I like it that much!  

Let me say again that I appreciate you telling me what happened to you.  I completely understand.  

One day without a drink, but I don't know about tomorrow.  We'll see if I can do it again, but I can't end up in the hospital, or I'll lose my job.   Working at home makes it so much easier to drink, you know.....   I'm starting to shake a little bit now and hope I can sleep some tonight, as I haven't slept much this week.

I'm having auditory hallucinations, too, especially if I'm getting ready to doze off.  I've also had sleep paralysis for the past several years which aren't pleasant experiences, either.  Fortunately, my guy is a light sleeper, and he helps me to wake up when he hears me screaming.  

Thanks again, gm.  I'll keep you posted if you'll keep talking to me, please.  I really need to talk to someone who understands.  Aww.. heck.. now the tears are starting... Geez..  talk to you later.
729009 tn?1237330483
I have totally been where you are.... so sick from the alcohol that I could barely keep it down. Besides the immediate risks of alcohol withdrawal, you all know what this is doing to you internally, right? I also know what you mean about down playing the problem to doctors and such. Here's the thing, though.... they usually know anyway. It's like one of those rules of three. When you say to a doctor or nurse you have 2 drinks a night and you're presenting with actual health problems, they know to multiply by three what you say. Alcoholics, when in the midst of their disease, are notorious liars. I'm not saying about everything, but certainly about their booze. After 4 years of heavy abuse, I all of a sudden had cirrhosis at age 34 ONLY from the alcohol. I also lied at the beginning about the real quantity of wine I drank. I've been totally sober since 2007 when I was diagnosed, and the world is really not that scary at all. And you won't believe what kind of support and proverbial high fives you get from just about everyone. I promise your life and health will improve 100% if you stop drinking totally.... just as mine did. I think it's a badge of honor to have faced and conquered this instead of eeking out like a mouse. Afterall, what kind of person would you be if you let an inanimate object actually rule your life? Not far from worshipping a bobble head....  

Hope this didn't sound harsh. I'm here to help and just let you know you are doing more now that I ever did when I drank, so congrats! and start getting your kicks with cool fruit concoctions and tea. Sobriety will make you high on life. :-)

455167 tn?1259261471
hi there. ya, i used to do the same thing. take a big gulp and throw up. after awhile i started to throw up blood with my tennis shoes. but once i did i usually managed to keep a few shots down----long enough for them to hit my brain, and back to the same old bloodstream rinse cycle.

it is the great aspiration of every alcoholic (i hope it's ok to use that term----no one else but ourselves can make that call), to one day be able to handle our liquor and drink "socially" or like non-alcoholics. sadly, many follow this desire to the grave, or at to least places that are hell on earth. i tried to do it for more than 15 years----in and out of hospitals and psych wards, until i had all i could stand. all i could stand, but not all i wanted. there isn't enough liquor in the world to satisfy the thirst i tried so hard to quench, we cross a line at some point---and once we do, there is no going back.

i'm really concerned for you, as i lost someone very close to me who also did much of their work from home (my dad was a writer). this enabled him to drink whenever he wanted pretty much. and it killed him. by the time the symptoms of his condition hit, he was already dead---it just took a couple of weeks for his body to catch up. do you have any sort of support system at all? anyone close by who knows what you're trying to do? do you have a regular doctor? there are ways to make this process more tolerable and safe. please advise---you can get through this,    gm
Avatar universal
You don't sound harsh at all.

And you're right about doctors knowing.  The doc I worked for in the 90s told me the same thing about patients and how he multiplied the amount of drinking they would confess.

I know what it's doing to my body, and I know what it's doing to my life, and I don't want to let it beat me.

Intellectually, I know all of this.

But there is another level which I'm dealing with which is pure craving and wanting that feeling, I get from drinking even though I know the aftermath isn't worth it.

There are some triggers which I'm discovering, i.e., my guy's teenage daughter and her cousin are spending the weekend.  Long story short; it's very stressful, and a few shots makes it SEEM better, even though I know, I know, I know.

I'm on my 2nd day without a drink and not sure if I'll make it, as I have to go out later to pick up a few things.  I'm going to beat this.

Contradicting myself, aren't I?  

I know; no one said it would be easy.

Avatar universal
My guy knows, and he is very supportive.  I have a close friend who knows, and my oldest daughter knows.  All are supportive.  If I can't get a handle on this, I'm not going to make it.  At least that's the way I feel this hour.  Of course, when I'm drinking, I'm not "all there" for him, and we're very close.  We were friends for a long time before moving in together, and I can't hide from him.  It's a totally different relationship than any I've had before, and I don't want to lose him.  He's willing to do anything to help me, but I require a lot emotionally.  He's 10 years younger than I, but he's much more stable emotionally than I am.  

I might as well just give you "the story."  I was molested by my dad's best friend, who was also his fishing buddy and my uncle by marriage, when I was 9.  I never told my dad but did tell a cousin a couple of years later who proceeded to do the same thing to me.  I've been through 6-7 counselors, but nothing ever really helped get over it.  It's a soul-deep hurt that I'm not sure some people can ever overcome.  Now, I just try not to think about it.  I could add lots of details, but you get the picture.  My best friend died 2 years ago, and I have many failed relationships in my past but none of them failed because I drank.  I was looking for validation of some sort, maybe... I don't know.. so many issues...  I'll end this one by saying that this is something I also understand on an intellectual basis, but some issues are never completely resolved by knowledge.

I started really heavily drinking about 2-3 years ago, and I'm 55 now.  I never thought at this stage of the game I'd be dealing with becoming an alcoholic, but here I am.  

I've been reading everything I can find on the subject.  To think about never being able to drink again is daunting, at least to me it is.  I do have many good people in my life, and I don't want them to give up on me.  I don't want ME to give up on me.  I have too much to give to let it all go to waste.

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