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    Old 12-10-2007, 08:54 AM   #1
    AnxietyMan
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    Alcohol Withdrawal??

    Hi.
    This Halloween I decided I've had it with all the drinking, and the effects long term it can have on your physical and psychological health... I quit cold turkey after a couple years of drinking on a close to daily basis. I was unable to follow my own rules of no alcohol on work nights. I simply could not not drink... So I stopped, cold turkey.
    I did this in January for a month. I got severe anxiety. I already suffer from an anxiety disorder, but when I cut the alcohol it got extremely bad and I got bad thoughts coming into my head. Thoughts I couldn't control easily and they were definitely unwanted. After a month went by I thought I had control over myself so I allowed myself to drink on weekends again, which lasted a week or two, then it was back to just about every night...
    So now, here I am. I poured out all of my liqour in the house and have not bought any since October 31st. A week or so later, I decided I'm too young to not be allowed to drink at all- so I set a new rule and have stuck with it... No alcohol in the house. That keeps me from drinking on a daily basis, and limits me to when we go out (hardly ever). Since October 31st when I cut it off I've had severe anxiety and the bad thoughts again. Sometimes I'll have a panic attack about having bad thoughts, but the thoughts won't actually enter my mind. I'll just worry about it. The last alcoholic beverage I had was at a wedding just over a week ago. Am I still going through withdrawals from when I quit, or did drinking at the wedding kind of set me back?
    How long can this last?
    Is this the real me? Or am I suffering from withdrawals and it will get back to the way I was??
    I'm almost always worrying, and while at work I'm on the internet researching different disorders and not knowing if I have OCD or if I feel this way because I quit drinking and its withdrawals. I feel very alone right now and I am on the verge of crying at work because I just want to feel normal again!

    I've talked to my general doctor about this, he's given me Xanax to take 3 times daily for a couple months and then have a follow up appointment. The Xanax works sometimes, but other times it won't help. Last night I took a sleep aid with my Xanax so I could just go to sleep and end the day of anxiety...

    Sorry this is so long, I just really don't know what to do. Last week I hardly got any work done at work. This is affecting my job performance and I feel like I'm losing my mind...

    Will this go away if I continue to not drink??

     
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    Old 12-10-2007, 09:21 AM   #2
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    Re: Alcohol Withdrawal??

    Are you an alcoholic? No matter how you try and drink socially ,it won't work[you know this now] Theres been alcoholics who had 10,20 yrs clean,without 1 drink,then went back and tried to have one here,one there,well,they went right back to were they left off 10,20 yrs ago!Anyways,yes,it should go away,but it will take a little time.[anxiety] Hang in there,it gets better,it gets a great deal better! But,if you pick up one drink to ease,whatever,you will have to start all over with the anxiety etc.

     
    Old 12-10-2007, 09:35 AM   #3
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    Re: Alcohol Withdrawal??

    So what you're saying is that in general- I cannot succeed at having a drink out with friends once and a while? I figured I should wait at least until I feel normal and my brain has adjusted back to normal with no alcohol before introducing another drink. But I assumed it would be ok to drink once in a while on special occassions, just as long as it's not a daily thing where my body becomes dependant on it...

    Based on what I've been reading- OCD is an anxiety disorder (which I already have anxiety sometimes). Is it possible that my alcohol withdrawals has elevated me to an OCD level until my brain balances out and get's used to the lack of alcohol???
    One other note- when i quit the alcohol- my caffeine intake increased (which can also induce anxiety, or so I've read). I drink two monsters (energy drink) per day. I've also been eating bad. More candy and sweets.

    I have faith that if I don't drink these feelings will fade and I'll be back to my normal "mild anxiety" self. But as of right now I'm a nervous wreck!

    Any other opinions? I really need help... I'm considering going to a couple AA meetings, but I dont think my wife has completely accepted my problem with alcohol, and she doesn't understand drugs and the effects they can have on people... So I'm a bit afraid how she'd react if I told her I was going to an AA meeting.........

     
    Old 12-10-2007, 10:59 AM   #4
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    Re: Alcohol Withdrawal??

    Hello

    I am sorry this all is so confusing and such a rough time for you. It is good to see you posting here and I think a lot of help can be had if it can be truly accepted by you.

    I came off drugs, not alcohol, but Oxycodone and Xanax ( please, please be careful with thta Xanax... dependency builds super quick with it and it is a horrible withdrawal). I have, however, had lots of experienece as I grew up with an alcoholic father who found recovery in AA. I spent lots and lots of time with him involved in AA as he worked with fellow alcoholics. ( I was the kid he had to drag around and as a teen and young adult, I went with him simply because I wanted to).

    Yes, I do believe you are still in withdrawal. Withdrawal is physical and emotional. The first suggestion would be to cut way back on the caffeine intake and absolutely the sugar. Both the sugar and the caffeine are whacking out the body with quick rushes and quick drops. Craving sugar is absolutley the norm in alcohol withdrawal.... alcohol is full of sugar and your body is craving it as well as the alcohol. These two things will super increase the anxiety that is being felt. Pull back from them slowly, but do pull back.

    Although our addictions differ in what we used, there are ever so many common threads in detox withdrawal and eventual recovery. Truthfully, I do believe there is a serious problem with the alcohol use. Alcohol in itself is not evil at all, but abuse of it sure isbn't a good thing and from what you have written, you are an abuser. No judgement, friend, just eyes looking from the outside here. There is never a need for booze. There can be an enjoyment, a social acceptance factor, things like that, but make no mistake, there is never a need.

    I think that AA meetings would help with understanding far beyond what can be imagined right now. Learn from others who have stood or are standing in your shoes. With all respect, Wife does not at all fit into the equation of your attending meetings that may end up saving your life and well-being. Alcoholism is a progressive disease. It is wonderful, just grat, that you have taken steps and seen a doctor already. It is needed. What also is needed is support that can not be given by doctors, but by those who have been there in life.

    Please do go to a meeting. Please continue to post to us. This board is a wonderful support, but huiman support is also a totally necessary part of finding true recovery, true renewal to your body, mind and spirit.

    I wish you all the best in facing this head on. There is nothing but hope when we do.

    best wishes
    reach

     
    Old 12-10-2007, 11:22 AM   #5
    madhatter
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    Re: Alcohol Withdrawal??

    [QUOTE=AnxietyMan;3344060]So what you're saying is that in general- I cannot succeed at having a drink out with friends once and a while?

    Yes,thats what I'm saying[if your an alcoholic] Every person that I know,or have talked to,that are alcoholics,and had some sober time ,no matter how long they had,like I mentioned,one guy had 20 yrs of clean time,decided to have just one drink,well,within a day or so,he was right back to were he was 20 yrs. ago!
    If there were a way for an alcoholic to have the occasional drink,they wouldn't be an alcoholic.I'm telling you from the heart man,it doesn't work.

     
    Old 12-11-2007, 06:40 AM   #6
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    Re: Alcohol Withdrawal??

    you have recieved some excellent advice here really.i just wanted to mention to you that seeing a good therepist wouldn't be a bad idea.most alcoholics and addicts generally have one big thing in common,depression.alot of people are really trying to self medicate depression when they choose to drink or do some drug that just gives them that sense of well being,that 'lift'.you know what i mean?it does sound like this may not only just be WDs you are dealing with here,there really does sound like you may have more of an underlying issue here too.seeing my therepist who helped me soo much after i quit using,was intrumental in me maintaining sobriety for many many years.there are many different meds besides the benzo that you are currently on that could probably help you much much more than staying on a drug that could in and of itself,start a whole new problem for you.it just doesn't really take all that long to actually become very dependant upon any type of benzos,and believe me, the WDs from this stuff are much much worse than what you are feeling from the alcohol.listen to reach,she knows,believe me.

    you just "cannot' be an alcoholic and think you can actually drink occasionally,its just not they way your particular brain is wired.it will get much worse eventually if you don;t stop completely and try hard to stay sober at this point.you ARE doing the best possible thing for yourself by stopping all together,believe me.the AA meetings really are a must for you.listening and speaking to others who are in your same situation just really really helps.the support you will find there will be something you will truely be thankful for one day,trust me.these people will just help you thru this but more importantly,they will help you to stay sober and on track.what could be better than talking with and listening to a group of people who are all going thru what you are,ya know?but i would really seriously see some level of pshyc doc just to get yourself evaluated and find out whats up inside your head.like i said,mine was really crucial for me.effexor,which is an anti depression med really also appears to work much more effectively for people with depression and also have an anxiety level thats a bit too high.in your situation right now,i would just really try anything other than any type of benzo to rein in the anxiety.its just not good for you to realistically stay on ya know?i do wish you luck here with all this.these boards are really a huge source of support for you as well too,so don't forget that,K?please let us know how things are going with you.good luck,Marcia

     
    Old 12-11-2007, 07:07 AM   #7
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    Re: Alcohol Withdrawal??

    Reachout- Thank you for your post. I really think you're right, and I'm going to talk to my wife about going to an AA meeting...
    I have been to AA meetings before. When I was a teenager I got into a lot of trouble and was put in Charter for behavioral and depression reasons, when I got out I went to an alternative school for the "bad kids" and then ended up getting into more trouble, going to an outpatient rehab for drugs, and after getting into trouble with the law a bit was required by the rehab and probation officer to attend AA or NA meetings. I really wasn't an addict, at least not at that time... But I guess they wanted me to learn.
    I've seen full blown alcoholics before. My ex girlfriends mom was an alcoholic. She did nothing but lay around all day and drink. Literally the only time she got up was to get another drink, food (rarely), bathroom, or to the store to get more alcohol... I think she's clean today...
    As far as my new approach to being sober- I guess I'm not trying to be 100%sober, I'm trying to change my habits to healthy ones. My doctor thought my idea was a good one, and that it could work (which it has so far, besides restarting the withdrawal cycle)
    I quit smoking several times in my life, and I know, just one cigarette can spark up the addiction again and start you back over... I quit, hopefully the last time in my life, over 3 years ago and have smoked cigars on occassion with no problem rolling back into cigarettes. I do realize the urge comes back a little stronger than usual after smoking a cigar- but not enough to actually do it. Plus- I have a lot of motivation for not smoking. I've got a beautiful wife and the cutest little kid anyone could ask for... I know that I have to not only set an example, but keep myself alive to support my family.
    I could go on for hours about this... Sometimes I wonder if I could successfully pull back my drinking habits, and not abuse it anymore- at least not on a daily basis. I mean, I'm only 24 and I want to be able to go out and have fun once in a while. Part of me has been too scared to even have a drink on an outing just because I'm afraid I will get back into the habit...

    madhatter- When you say "if you're an alcoholic"... how can we define that? Because some people think alcoholics are people who drink all day long and drink and drive and make stupid choices. I'm not that person. I'm the person who comes home from work and can't wait for a drink. Then I have a few crown and cokes, and it happens almost daily (not anymore) I don't get drunk from it, it just makes me feel normal. Makes me feel relaxed and looser. Maybe there are stages to alcoholism and I'm at the beginning of the tunnel, could there be hope to turn around? I really want to just change my habits.

    Thanks for your support guys, it really means a lot to me that you complete strangers would reach out to me and give me your support and help.
    You are good people.

    I'll try to post up if anything new happens...
    Yesterday I had to leave work early because my anxiety was so bad I couldn't focus and I just went home and cried on my wife's shoulder. I think thats the first time I've done that... I'm just so tired of all of this. I just want to be normal... Today- I'm feeling better. So hopefully yesterday I got over the hump... I dont know...

     
    Old 12-11-2007, 07:19 AM   #8
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    Re: Alcohol Withdrawal??

    feelbad- sorry i didnt see your post when I started typing mine a few minutes ago...

    I actually plan to see a psychologist or psychiatrist soon. I printed up a list of doctors in my area that accept my insurance just yesterday, but I wanted to give it a couple weeks with no alcohol to see if the symptoms calm down a bit. As far as other meds, I've been on practically all of them in my adolescence years and my young adult years. I've had some bad experiences with those. One of them just nuked my feelings all together. I didn't feel anxious, but nor did I feel joy or anything else. I was just... "there". I'd come home from work and really didnt care to see my family. It just took the me out of me, you know? Another one I had some unwanted side effects, but did seem to help. Getting off of that med (I think it was effexor) was TERRIBLE. I had some weird panick attack or something when I quit, and my face started to tingle and I panicked like big time. And for some reason I just craved an energy drink like immediately. (I was in the car when this happened) So I hauled butt over to a gas station and downed two Amps. I felt better within a couple minutes. So ya, coming off of these meds really suck........

    I'd consider taking something like that again, but would prefer not to, because I have a terrible memory and forget to take pills. I also don't like to rely on a medication full time to feel normal.

    Again thank you all for your responses, you are very kind and it makes me feel very good that there are people like you out there willing to support a complete stranger going through rough times.

     
    Old 12-11-2007, 10:42 AM   #9
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    Re: Alcohol Withdrawal??

    Try to look at it as not having to drink just for today.I know it sounds hard if you say to yourself"Man,I can't drink for the rest of my life" You will drive yourself nuts thinking that way.When you wake up in the morning,just say to yourself" I'm not going to drink today". I believe feelbad mentioned it,AA meetings are very very helpful! If you decide to check one out[I hope you do]
    Just go there and listen .You will hear from other alcoholics how they stay sober .They share there experiences, strength,hope.You will find that you are not alone,you are not unique with this disease.Then in the future as you got some time under your belt[sobriety] you can help someone who is new,and you will find that it is very gratifying .

     
    Old 12-11-2007, 05:38 PM   #10
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    Re: Alcohol Withdrawal??

    As an alcoholic/addict, I cannot drink or use mood altering substances at all. If I could have had the occasional drink I'd be a social drinker, not an alcoholic. I don't think purely social drinkers get jittery and jumpy because they aren't drinking.

    Social drinkers don't have a history of havong gone cold turkey. There was never any need. At least that has been what I've seen and observed in life.

    As an alcoholic and addict, I was able to get sober and clean through AA and NA. I also was willing to do whatever it took to get and stay sober and clean. For me, I went to 90 meetings in 90 days in early recovery. I still attend meetings.

    That may sound excessive, but again, I was willing to do anything it took because I wanted recovery that badly.

    Just being in a room of AA and/or NA will not get and keep you clean and/or sober, but it's a great place to learn how to recover. At least that is the way it was for me.

    I found relief for my drinking and drugging through working the 12 Steps. Had I just attended the meetings, that would have helped, would have given me a good support system, but I had to do some seriously hard and honest work on an ongoing basis.

    Getting sober and clean, getting into recovery, was the hardest thing I"ve ever done. It's also been the most worthwhile.

    As someone else said above, if you don't drink just for today, even if that's just for the next five minutes, that's great. Then, take it another five minutes and so on. At first, I was seriously freaked out to think I could never drink or use other substances again. I thought, "There's no way." However, by taking things a day at a time, I have a clean and sober life today.

    You've mentioned you see a psychiatrist. If there are co-occurring mental health issues, make sure your doctor knows you've stopped drinking and you want to get and stay sober.

    Keep talking to us here. We're here for you, here for each other.

    I wish you the best,

    Muriel

     
    Old 12-15-2007, 06:47 AM   #11
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    Re: Alcohol Withdrawal??

    Hey There,

    I started drinking really heavily about 4 years ago (had a lot of **** going on a the time with my job, family [father was dying], relationship and had a huge amount of anxiety. Prior to this time I would drink on the weekends sometimes or just go weeks or months without drinking at all. Strictly a social drinker who didn't get much out of alcohol, however I did have a spotty history of abusing street drugs.

    So after about three years of drinking every single night I became physically addicted. I couldn't stop on my own without endangering my life. I went into alcohol detox in October of 2006. This was after laying off alcohol for four months after my doctor had given me librium to take for five days to detox myself. After detox I didn't drink again until Christmas holidays 2006 and it was really bad. A huge binge. Again I had to get librium and detox myself.

    In short you seem to be using alcohol for the very same purpose I did: to control anxiety. When I discovered that little tidbit I went to a doctor and got a prescription for Xanax which worked beautifully for controlling my anxiety but the only problem is that I kept on drinking w/ the Xanax. In fact, both substances fueled my need and desire for the other. I became cross-addicted. So I then detoxed myself from alcohol and Xanax by using librium for five days and klonopin for the long term which i still take but can't say I abuse because I just take if for anxiety.

    Bottom line: You are treating your anxiety disorder with alcohol. The pills aren't much better but if you used them as prescribed you will treat your anxiety and not develop a *heavy* dependency on them although you will develop a dependency. Ideally, an SSRI like Paxil is best for anxiety because it is non-addictive. I tried it and it worked for my anxiety, but it just made the rest of my anxiety-free life suck because I couldn't feel anything at all. The ultimate or ideal cure for anxiety is therapy without the use of drugs. But you have to be strong, man, and really talk to yourself when you go the non drug route for treating anxiety. It is a battle everyday to get the demon of anxiety off of your back by sheer mental force... i.e., talking yourself down from your attacks, but if you are successful at it -- and I know many people who are -- it is well worth it to live an anxiety-free and drug free / alcohol free life.

    Currently, I am taking Subutex but will be off of it in about 5 weeks. I take klonopin as prescribed. I also drink but no longer have a physical addiction to it because I drink only a few drinks per night which is probably about two or three to many but still enough to keep me from becoming an addicted wreck. I now find it rather easy to not drink or to drink just a few but it took a while to get to this point. So, by implication I don't drink that every person who was once addicted to alcohol can never again become a social drinker. I'm going to go on the wagon for a while -- not because I'm drinking all that much but because I'm into healthy eating and exercising and all of that **** and alcohol just doesn't fit with the plan beyond a glass or two a day of red wine.

    Best,

    storm

     
    Old 01-11-2008, 08:07 AM   #12
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    Re: Alcohol Withdrawal??

    I still have not had a drink since Nov 25th. At a work party, everyone was like "Hey, where's your beer? Grab a Guiness, I know you love them." I didn't want to be like "Nah, I'm an alcoholic..." So I just had to keep saying that I didnt want one. (Usually I'd have two or three so a couple closer co-workers kinda looked at me like "whaaaaat?"
    But I pulled through and I stood my ground.
    Another instance. I was at a Christmas party with my in-laws. My father-in law was like "grab a beer" and I was like "no thanks, I'm good"
    He kept insisting in front of everyone "C'mon tell your wife it's okay, be a man... you can have a beer if you want, don't let her boss you around"
    I said "you're right, I can have a beer"
    So he stood up to go get one, and I said "but I don't want one"
    It REALLY ****** me off, and also kind of made me realize how stupid alcohol is in the sense that it has become a social requirement. I've noticed when friends get together and go places, they almost always drink alcohol.
    What for?
    Friends shoouldnt need alcohol to loosen up around each other...
    I've had several outings where before I would drink with my friends, but I held my ground each time, and said no. Its ridiculous the amount of pressure even older adults can put on people to have a drink. After quitting, I've noticed there is no need for it... its a disgusting drug and it ruins peoples lives.

    About the taking it one day at a time. I'm very familiar with term. My AA group I went to a long time ago was called ODAAT. It is the best way to go. Actually, the way I do it is different, its more like one situation at a time. Each time alcohol is available to me, I have to make a choice. Sometimes I have the urge to just have one, but then realize I may get back into a bad cycle.

     
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