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alcoholic...i'm only 21 please help

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Old 06-25-2008, 06:08 PM   #1
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Join Date: Jan 2008
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berlingirl HB User
Lightbulb alcoholic...i'm only 21 please help

I am begging the world for advice and thoughts. I am 21 who had a rough upbringing. I felt like i had pulled through everything with a good head on my shoulders until i realized that i was an alcoholic. in january i posted this:

"I am a 21 year old female. I have been supporting myself and living on my own since i was 16, thus I have had access to alcohol at an early age. in the last year I have become an alcoholic. It affected my job, my driving, my family and my body. I almost got fired because my boss suspected i came in to work drunk [which i was]. Instead of firing me, i played it off like i was sober and he just sent me home for the day. I got in a car accident after i was drinking. I was speeding and because my reactions were delayed and i failed to prevent and avoidable accident. My car is now non-drivable. I get emotional, anxious, and angry which is affecting the decisions i make in life and the relationship with my parents and fiancé. I now have stretch marks from 1. the weight i gained from drinking and 2. Being dehydrated all time. I got to the point where i was drinking 2 1.5 liters of wine in a day. I started having heart palpations and dizzy spells. I quite cold turkey. I was sober for 1 month [a lot for me]. Due to recent stress, i have started drinking again, now i remember how much i felt better after a glass [or 3 or 4] of wine or whiskey. I want to stop again, but i enjoy it to much... any advice from someone who has been through this?"

I was successful in staying sober from alcohol until me and my fiancé decided to split [5 months ago]. I was overcome by the amount of free time on my hands [and other things]. I don’t know when or how, but slowly I have escalated back into drinking. I no longer get heart palpations exc. , but I am currently drinking about a liter of wine a day. The first thing I do when I wake up, is have a glass of wine. The problem is, I am not ready to quite [again] even though, I know I should. I looked up aa online, but it seemed like to much hassle. I enjoy my drinking, I like the way I feel, but at the same time, I know what it can become [3 liters a day, heart palpations, and maybe death]. I feel like I am too young to be fighting such a big war. Anyone have advice?

Last edited by berlingirl; 06-25-2008 at 06:09 PM.

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Old 06-26-2008, 02:19 PM   #2
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 34
viking55803 HB User
Re: alcoholic...i'm only 21 please help

I can understand that it must seem unfair that you are struggling with this problem so early in what we hope will be a long life.

The good news is that you seem to be past the stage of pre-contemplation (or denial) and are at a point where you are at least ambivalent about your willingness to change. Ambivalence means you are "weighing" the positives and negatives of your behavior.

I personally think it is important to understand that addiction is a brain illness. This is no longer just something we say, the science is clear: the reward system of the brain is "hijacked" by the alcohol and is producing a desire to continue drinking that overwhelms your inhibitory mechanisms.

That won't help you get sober, but it may help you understand that you are, unfortunately, genetically and biologically predisposed to alcoholism. It is unlikely you will ever be able to drink "socially." Your choices are to:

a) try to reduce the harm alcohol is causing by drinking less, drinking less often, and/or avoiding dangerous activities while you are drinking (like driving!)
b) become a non-drinker.
c) do nothing until you suffer more serious consequences, which will happen - as you know.

Most cigarette smokers try to quit 8 to 10 times before they are successful. Losing weight, exercising regularly, eating right, quitting smoking - all of these are difficult for almost anyone. Changing behavior is not easy, particularly when you experience cravings, fatigue, loneliness, depression etc.

My suggestion is that you at least acknowledge to yourself that you have this problem, and commit to reducing the immediate harm it is causing to the extent you are able.

When you are ready to take another step, you really should consider detox under the supervision of a physician. Alcohol withdrawal is very, very dangerous.

If AA is not for you, there are self-help books and other kinds of support that you might be able to access to help you remain abstinent long enough for the cravings to reduce in frequency and intensity and, more important, you begin to experience some of the positive aspects of sobriety. This becomes self-reinforcing, if you know what I mean.

I hope this post is helpful. I know there are lots of folks here who are in the same spot and many who have been where you are now. Stay in touch!

Old 06-30-2008, 01:02 PM   #3
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Join Date: Jan 2008
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berlingirl HB User
Re: alcoholic...i'm only 21 please help

your information was extremely helpful... i dont have a regular physician... how can i commit myself? i am also currently fighting other problems [relationhip] which are making it nearly impossible to quite. i feel like i'm about to hit rock bottom.

i do know what you are talking about, the self reward system, beacuse i felt it before when i quite drinking... but it feels so hard to get to that point, none the less to stay at it.

Old 06-30-2008, 09:10 PM   #4
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 34
viking55803 HB User
Thumbs up Re: alcoholic...i'm only 21 please help

I'm glad you came back to read and reply to my post! You are obviously not content with where you are at - with both your drinking or your life. that very few people have one earth-moving experience that suddenly makes sobriety instantly achievable. I have also known many people who have given up trying and surrendered to their addiction.

The idea of quitting forever is just too scary for most people to accept. That's where the whole "a-day-at-a-time" idea comes from. The way I see it now, the path is abstinence, sobriety, recovery. Abstinence is fairly easy to achieve ("I've quit...a hundred times!") Sobriety is a state of mind where the immediate effects of alcohol have decreased, and cravings and thoughts about drinking are manageable. This is the stage that takes a fair amount of effort AND support. Recovery is a achieved only after an extended period of sobriety. In recovery, your life has been completely reorganized around things other than drinking. The probability of a lapse for someone in recovery is very low because you have developed so many alternative resources or coping skills, and you know that drinking never really solves anything.

Each of those stages requires the one before it: sobriety is not possible without abstinence, and recovery is not possible without sobriety. The key is a combination of time and accumulation of recovery capital. Recovery capital are things like a job, supportive family, healthy relationships, a sense of social connection, and your the strengths that you have inside.

For many people, building recovery capital starts with getting some professional help. A good counselor or therapist can help you recognize and develop your strengths.

I personally don't believe you have to make a commitment to abstinence or recovery to begin with - you just need to be honest, willing to change, and keep an open mind.

Those are the core values of recovery, and you have already demonstrated the ability to be honest. You may doubt your ability to change, but your post seems to indicate a desire to change.

But...if you are lost in the woods and have a compass, even if you are sure the compass is wrong, the way out is to follow the compass, not your gut instinct. That's where the open mindedness comes in. Your plan does not seem to be working. Perhaps it's time to ask for directions and try a different path.

There are always good people out there who are ready, willing and able to help. I wish you the best.

Last edited by mod-anon; 06-30-2008 at 09:45 PM. Reason: peer sharing only

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