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So I drink quite a bit. Beer is great and wine is lovely. It is fine to have a drink, but it matters why you're drinking. There's a difference between going to a dinner party and saying "That's a wonderful Bordeaux" which makes you sound cultured and fucking annoying. "Oh it has a wonderful nose!" Dickhead. I've never been invited to a dinner party. But then there's how I choose what to drink. Pick up a bottle of wine and pretend to be reading the label. Oh! It goes well with poultry dishes. Don't give a shit. Looking at the alcohol percentage. 13%, that'll do. Goes well with sadness and misery. Having a beer and getting wasted is fine, it just depends on your reasons. I drink for all the wrong reasons. Confidence! That comes in a bottle. Feelings come in cans. And it might make me feel better for a while or it might make me so much worse, but when you feel like shit anyway rolling them dice seems like a good idea. And I'm unfortunately a good drunk. If I vomited everywhere and started fights with badgers I might think twice about having a drink. All my anxieties melt away and I no longer hate myself. Except when it makes it worse. Alcohol narrows your focus, which can mean blocking out those annoying self-doubts or making them the only thing you hear. Yay, let's play Russian roulette. Alas I'm often a better person when I'm drunk. More sweary and opinionated but less neurotic and self-loathing. I've been hitting the booze hard for years and I'm now over 40. I'm somehow far healthier than I deserve to be. I'm not sure if the person who gets my liver when I die is lucky or not. 1 careless user but it's worked fucking well.

But I'm not trying to say that drunkeness is OK. It's shit. How about a bottle of "I feel comfortable in my own skin". It would be better to be able to feel like that without alcohol. The cause of, and solution to, all of life's problems. But I like alcohol, it would just be better if I selected a bottle of wine because it has a good nose, whatever the fuck that means. I'm not a sophisticated drunk. Yep! That will get me fucked up. Thank you cheap Australian wine. I'm talking shit again. There is a serious point in all that bollocks about how it matters why you drink. One of my favourite books about living with depression "Shoot the Damn Dog", she wasn't a heavy drinker but it was the reason she turned to alcohol which was the problem. There's "I'm going to get drunk so I can relax and let go of my worries". Fair enough. Good to cut loose every now and then. My reasons for getting drunk? "Because I can't stand existing and I want to get so fucking wasted that I forget who I am." Not good. But what's it's fucking nose like?

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There's nowhere you can go here that I won't pop up to harass you.

1 hour ago, Fluent In Silence said:

getting wasted is fine

No

1 hour ago, Fluent In Silence said:

I drink for all the wrong reasons

Yes

1 hour ago, Fluent In Silence said:

rolling them dice seems like a good idea

Your liver disagrees

1 hour ago, Fluent In Silence said:

Alcohol narrows your focus

narrows your focus dulls your wits

1 hour ago, Fluent In Silence said:

let's play Russian roulette

Let's not

1 hour ago, Fluent In Silence said:

I'm often a better person when I'm drunk. More sweary and opinionated

Being a potty-mouthed know-it-all does make one a better person

ūü§®

You are a mass of contradictions here. You like alcohol/it's shit. You're a "good" drunk, but you start cursing like an overeducated sailor. It relieves your depression but it makes it worse (as it would, being a depressant). You're healthy but you know you're killing your liver. Drinking helps except when it doesn't, and when it doesn't, it doesn't just not work, it makes the problem very much worse - and you don't know which outcome you're going to end up with.

I disagree with your premise that it matters why you drink. Coming up with a "good" reason to drink has always been the way alcoholics rationalize continuing the self-destructive behavior even when it becomes evident even to them that they've got a problem. "I'm not an alcoholic, I just drink to unwind." "I don't have a problem, I just like to let my hair down when I go out. Nothing wrong with getting wasted once in a while." "Please. I'm not an alcoholic. I'm a connoisseur of fine wine." "I only drink it medicinally." "It helps me get through the day." Really, any reason will do. Any reason can be rationalized as a "good" reason to an addict.

At the end of the day, looked at objectively, there is actually no "good" reason to do something so blatantly adverse to your condition. No, the alcohol does not "help" your depression. You may experience the illusion of relief, but the chemical has not mitigated the underlying biological or psychological causes of your depression in any way. On the contrary, as a chemical depressant, it acts to exacerbate the biological effects that bring you down, and actively undermines whatever benefit you may be getting from taking an antidepressant. (Note: On the prescribing sheet for any antidepressant, you will find the phrase: Do Not Take With Alcohol.)

But knowing this isn't going to stop you, because you're using alcohol to self-medicate. Me, I use sugar. At least, I did. Now, I'm a fucking diabetic, and I can't have it because if I don't control my sugar intake, my left leg swells up and my toes turn black. I now have to wear compression socks all day every day. I told my doctor that this may become a competing quality-of-life issue, in that the determining factor of whether I die from the depression or the diabetes will be whether the anhedonia becomes so bad that I can't do without sugar. But - I'm making the decision rationally, and for now, I'm going sugar-free. I'm not telling myself that it matters why I eat the pudding. That would fall into the category of 'bullshit'. Regardless of why I eat it, the sugar would still have the same effect.

I don't, thank God, have an addictive nature. Members of my family do - my nephew at this moment is sitting in an inpatient rehab facility. I know that giving up a substance isn't as easy as putting your mind to it, and I'm not going to suggest something that absurd. But it does require an exercise of your will. Even if you are able to get the help needed to overcome the addiction to it, you may always feel its pull, and you may always have to exercise extra cognitive effort to prevent yourself from once again falling into dysfunctional thinking that rationalizes self-destruction. My grandfather was an alcoholic. He loved bourbon (we're Kentuckians, so naturally). He died 25 years ago, and I have lived in his house for the last 20 years. I am still finding empty bottles that he had hidden away.

He died at 86 of heart failure, in a state of dementia. He had had a pacemaker installed, and not long before his death he had been hospitalized and could not, of course, have his toddy. He complained of this to anyone who would listen. My cousin considered smuggling a fifth of bourbon in to him; he chickened out, but made the mistake of telling my grandfather about his plan. Later that evening, at the nurses' station, an alarm went off - my grandfather's heart monitor had flatlined. They rushed into his room to try to resuscitate him, only to find him unscrewing the lead to his external pacemaker battery. When they asked him what he thought he was doing, he said, "Trying to get the cap off my fifth of whiskey."

When I was a young man, he once asked me, "Do ya drink?" He had a toddy in his hand, so I supposed I was about to be offered one.

"No, Papaw, I don't," I said.

"Good," he replied. "Never start."

 

Flue, it's hurting you. Any excuse you give yourself to continue is a bad excuse. I know the other pain is bad, but there are other ways to deal with it that aren't going to kill you. If you need help to stop, please seek it.

 

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1 hour ago, Cerberus said:

There's nowhere you can go here that I won't pop up to harass you.

That genuinely made me laugh. ūü§£. Have I mentioned that I like you? I don't have an addictive nature. Lucky again I suppose, and trying my best to fuck that up. I don't drink because I need to. I've been a total piss head but it's never threatened to become alcoholism. I stop. And that's a problem in a way. I am excellent at being drunk. Never going to be an alcoholic, despite my apparent efforts. I'm like a super hero in that way. And ignore mentioning the absolute miserable shit I said. No, what? Everything is fine. I know that might sound naive saying that I'm somehow immune to addiction, but it's had plently of opportunities and it hasn't happened. So I'm not an alcoholic, I'm just a fucking idiot.

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8 hours ago, Fluent In Silence said:

I don't have an addictive nature. Lucky again I suppose, and trying my best to fuck that up. I don't drink because I need to. I've been a total piss head but it's never threatened to become alcoholism. I stop. And that's a problem in a way. I am excellent at being drunk. Never going to be an alcoholic, despite my apparent efforts. I'm like a super hero in that way. And ignore mentioning the absolute miserable shit I said. No, what? Everything is fine. I know that might sound naive saying that I'm somehow immune to addiction, but it's had plently of opportunities and it hasn't happened. So I'm not an alcoholic

Said every alcoholic, ever.

Mass. Of. Contradictions. You’re both acutely aware of the condition you’re in, and in denial at the same time.

It’s all right if you’re a fucking idiot. So am I, very frequently. But neither of us is a fucking idiot constantly, so there may be some hope for us.

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FYI from my experience.  Alcoholism is really really good at convincing you it's not there.  It's the superpower that's key to the addiction's survival.  You keep thinking your behavior is normal so you keep doing it and don't notice when you've slipped over the ledge.

A little over 20 years ago, I had been having a lot of problems at work, my friends had all vanished, and my sibling insisted I should "talk to someone."  So I went to a therapist.  She listened to me for about 2 minutes and ran out of the room and came back with an addiction counselor.  He said "go to the nearest hospital, tell them you're an alcoholic and need to be admitted for detox."  I laughed, thought that was the silliest thing.  I explained that I was not an alcoholic, I was just going through a hard time and couldn't figure out why.  I was also visibly shaking because I hadn't had my first drink of the day yet.  But somehow my brain did not compute "lose control of drinking every night and in the morning, shake and dry-heave until I have alcohol in my system" with being an alcoholic.  I was honestly shocked when he said it.  I'd been functioning with the abnormal drinking behavior for so long it felt normal and not like a problem.  It was just what I did with my free time.

I am an idiot very much like you describe.  Sometimes us idiots should listen to people like Cerberus.

I drink for the exact same reason - to feel comfortable in my skin.  The problem is that it quit working 20-some years ago and hasn't worked since.  If you think you're uncomfortable in your skin now, it's 100 times worse if you keep drinking.  Being away from the drink causes ugly anxiety and discomfort at first.  It keeps getting worse until you start having daily withdrawal symptoms, and then it feels like your skin is literally crawling.  And it seems like once you get to that point, you can't go back to when it was "not really a problem."  

Apologies if this sounds like annoying lecturing.  I annoyed myself a few times while writing it.  But it seems like I've written annoying replies to similar posts before, so maybe your brain is trying to send you a subtle message by bringing the topic into your thoughts so much.

On 7/3/2021 at 5:14 PM, Fluent In Silence said:

I'm already embarrassed about the bullshit I just said.

Me too.  Happens to me all the time.

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@Fluent In Silence I'm wondering if you're labouring under the belief that because you're (presumably) not running around hiding bottles in the toilet cistern and the back of cupboards  - things that you might equate with the stereotypical behaviour of an alcoholic - that you don't have a problem.

I went through several drug rehab programmes for my own substance abuse issues, and in every case some of the alcohol abusers in there with me were binge drinkers. It's just as dangerous - in some ways more so, because it comes with the delusion that you have control because you're "only" drinking yourself into oblivion 2-3 days a week, or whatever. Your liver is still taking a hammering, and it is still a really shitty coping mechanism with a bad long term prognosis. 

Just something to think about. I might be more coherent if it weren't 5 o'clock in the morning,  but I wanted to put this out there before I forgot. 

Edited by MiaB
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Posted (edited)

Sorry about all that, and thanks for replying and sharing your own experiences. I was a bit worried that I'd sounded offensively stupid. I was thinking out loud, and some of my thoughts are absolute shite. I may not be an alcoholic but it's definitely not healthy. Physically or mentally. Need my crutch. Do I? One of the damaging things it does is create this dichotomy between drunk me and sober me. Drunk me is sociable, nice, confident, sometimes funny. Sober me is miserable, unsociable, confused and full of self-doubt. I need alcohol to be a better person because I don't even want to know me when I'm sober. Like Popeye and his spinach. "I'm strong to the finish coz I drink too much, I'm Fluent the worthless fucking piss can." That doesn't rhyme. I don't need it to be a better person. I just need to stop thinking such miserable shit about myself. I can be sociable, nice, confident and sometimes funny when I'm sober. I have been, but I'm a bit isolated at the moment and all the old thoughts creep in. With no evidence to the contrary I default to thinking I'm a piece of shit and everyone would be better off without me. Which is self-perpetuating. I am helpful and nice when people ask me for help. I have made people laugh when I'm sober. But sober me wants to escape itself and become drunk me sometimes because that seems like a better me. They don't exist! It's all me, the good and the bad. I need to get out more.

Edited by Fluent In Silence
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I must correct myself, and say that this does not in fact sound like binge drinking.  What I am hearing from you is, in my opinion, more along the lines of disordered thinking, with a hefty dose of denial.  Sorry to be blunt.  We can certainly listen, offer our experiences and make suggestions, but at the end of the day you have to reach the point of personally recognising that there is seriously risky behaviour going on here, and it's not heading anywhere good.  Some might call it reaching your own rock bottom, but I hope it doesn't go as far as that.

PS - there is no need to apologise.  Perhaps the fact that all this is coming out means that you are realising and acknowledging that this is something that needs to be worked on sooner rather than later.

Edited by MiaB
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11 hours ago, MiaB said:

Sorry to be blunt.

No it's nothing I haven't thought myself sometimes. Denial? Often. Other times it's deliberate self-destruction. Sorry, that's probably too much to share. That's a reason why depression and alcohol are such awful bedfellows. Drinking is bad for me and I should stop. I have my whole life in front of me. Oh my God! I have my whole life in front of me, I need a drink. Dammit. I lost my job during the lockdown but luckily I started doing a degree course, which has been very good for my sanity. But school's out and it's just me and my own thoughts. Hold on until next term.

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On 7/3/2021 at 11:32 AM, Fluent In Silence said:

And I'm unfortunately a good drunk

...

Alas I'm often a better person when I'm drunk. More sweary and opinionated but less neurotic and self-loathing.

You sure about these statements?

Having been sober around drinking or drunk people, sober around sober people, drunk or drinking around other drunk or drinking people, and drunk or drinking around sober people (I think that's all the possible combos-whew!), I can't say I've run across any people whose company I enjoyed MORE when they were drinking vs. not drinking. Usually it's the opposite for me. BTW, I am neutral with regard to people who are just having a beer or glass of wine or two with dinner since they stay pretty much the same in their interactions with me and their mannerisms, etc. (unless they're having a beer or glass of wine or two on top of meds that interact badly with alcohol). 

Personally, I've never thought of myself as an alcoholic but I've had quite a few "come to Jesus" moments* in my life where I've scared myself straight for a (limited) time. I was what I would term a mini binge drinker. Originally began as more of a classic binge drinker but later it became mini binge drinker because with my meds, it doesn't take as many beers and shots to blackout and wake up somewhere unfamiliar. Sometimes I could handle just enjoying a beer or two. But the issue was, I never knew if that first drink or two would be lead to scary, self-destructive and somewhat uncharacteristic behavior on my part (often waking up weird places and being freaked the f*ck out--and I'm not talking about waking up in bed next to someone you don't recognize; that's a chapter thankfully left unwritten thus far in my life).

I guess (fortunately for me) I'm currently in a long-term state of "forced" abstinence from alcohol. I say "forced" because I really don't feel I have any other choice as my brain chemistry has become wonkier over the years and at this point I'd be grateful to just get on even ground, and so I'm definitely not willing to jeopardize my chances of a return to some more tolerable state of being. It would be like throwing gasoline on a fire. I've had enough trouble just trying to find the right med cocktail (still haven't btw since effexor/mirtazapine long ago pooped out on me). Therapy and "doing the work" that comes with therapy is helping somewhat. But I'm giving my brain and body and indefinite break from throwing gasoline on the fire or tinder or whatever it is inside me that has the potential and urge to burn me to the ground and have been abstaining from alcohol for almost a decade now....because it's fire season in my brain, the signs say the fire risk is RED ALERT EXTREME, and even if my brain and meds get sorted one of these days and I feel the the "fire risk" is lower, I think I've sowed enough wild oats in my days on this planet when it comes to drinking.

Apologies for the mixed metaphors, bad analogies, and the (hopefully forgivable) "sin" of using the term "come to Jesus" moment.

*I'm not a religious person btw; just a figure of speech. I never quite hit "rock bottom" (well, maybe once) but definitely was taken aside by others and/or scared myself straight more than a few times.

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7 hours ago, Fluent In Silence said:

I have my whole life in front of me. Oh my God! I have my whole life in front of me

I am very familiar with this line of thought. The reason it is disordered is that it assumes that the vision of the future life you're looking at is the one that's actually going to happen.  But there's no way of knowing that... unless you set out to make it happen. Which is, of course, all too often the result when people don't become aware that their thinking is disordered. In this case, we're telling you. Listen up, cloth-ears.

7 hours ago, Fluent In Silence said:

I need a drink.

And here it is, the brutal lie that props up all the rest: The truth is, you don't need a drink. You never do. The alcohol is not a need. You need relief from the self-torment of your disordered thoughts. You think the alcohol provides that relief. (It actually doesn't; the torment is still there, waiting to pounce like a leopard as soon as the alcohol has softened you up a bit.) If you're not very careful, you may become chemically dependent upon the alcohol in a physical sense, and therefore need it in an entirely different and highly undesirable way, but even then you won't need it the way you think you do.

Do this: Take an indelible marker and write the words "Boris Johnson" on every bottle or can of alcohol you have. Then, every time you go to take a drink, imagine you're kissing the Prime Minister full on the mouth. A little imagination can be a useful deterrent. (If you can still stomach the sauce after that, it's a strong sign that you have a problem.)

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 7/12/2021 at 7:12 AM, aquarian said:

You sure about these statements?

Nope. Hope I'm wrong. Sometimes I'm throwing fuel on a fire which is so dim that it needs an accelerant. Or so it seems. Alcohol does unfortunately make me feel more comfortable in my own skin, which overcomes all the crappy thoughts I have about me not being worthwhile and enables me to actually feel like a member of the human race for a while. And that's rubbish. I am a good drunk. Not much of a boast I know. Sometimes end up shouting insults at bigots online but fuck them. Drunk enough to care. Overcome my cynical, paranoid, fearful thoughts for a while. Be the person I might be if I wasn't damaged and neurotic as fuck. Boo hoo. Sorry, didn't mean to sound so whingey.

On 7/12/2021 at 7:23 AM, Cerberus said:

But there's no way of knowing that... unless you set out to make it happen.

The old self fulfilling prophecy. I know. I've been blessed with so much self-awareness that it hurts. Fitting in and being loved seems so unrealistic that I might as well go with self-destruction. Just don't want to be alone, but don't know how to be anything else.

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On 7/21/2021 at 4:59 PM, Fluent In Silence said:

I know. I've been blessed with so much self-awareness that it hurts. Fitting in and being loved seems so unrealistic that I might as well go with self-destruction. 

I'm not an expert or anything but I kind of wonder if your self-awareness is skewed towards the negative.  Is it really self-awareness or is it a brain ruminating on the things it dislikes about itself?  The zen mindful sort of people might note that the self is neither good nor bad it is simply the self so if it hurts you are experiencing an emotional reaction not awareness.  

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