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I am a substance abuser. As in, I can't handle my life so I self medicate.

It's been variously alcohol (but only mildly), cannabis, nicotine, food.... but having given up cannabis a year and a half ago and nicotine nearly 6 months ago, gaining a stone+ in comfort eating, it's now alcohol. In a big way, like half a 70cl bottle plus a night, despite puuting on a stone+ in weight after losing the excess after having a baby.

I've tried to tell my pdocs that I'm grossly unhappy, that I know I drink too much, that I don't think my meds (Lithium which makes me nauseous, Sertraline which may as well be a sugar pill) are helping more than they are causing side effects HELP AT ALL, but with my poss BP dx they won't risk anything.

Not helped, of course, by the average stay of a pdoc at my CMHT of 6 months. My latest reckoned he was there for 5 months. Go figure.

I hate needing alcohol. I hate feeling that my meds don't work, in fact worse than that they have intolerable side-effects. i hate the inevitability that is my life.

I won't even go into the problems I have with my 13 y/o, I've just about given up on her. If she want's to make a total balls up of her life, I'm powerless to stop her.

I know I'm a failure, I just want to make the best of what I can. Life sucks, but I'm damned if I'm going to give up on my kids.

Don't stop me needing SOMETHING though.... and right now, alcohol is it. If I were religious, I'd say May God have mercy on my soul...

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Hi Mazeness! Thank you for posting what you did. Geewiz - I can empathize! It is wonderful you have the well-being of your children as a motivator (a higher power?!!) in front of you to help you think about a positive future.

The whole AA doctrine isn't something I can handle or believe in. Yet, I find hope in "one-day-at-a time." Family issues won't be fixed in one day. And, yes, cross addictions from food to alcohol to other things is not unusual. But - there is hope! You seem to be self-aware, which is a HUGE gift!!! I hope you have the advantage of a therapist or objective third party to talk with to help you through.

Anyway . . . I wish you courage, hope and care. Thank you for the hope you have given me by sharing your journey!

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MrsMaze - thank you for posting. It takes a lot of courage to share from your heart like you did. Wow - you have some powerful love for your kids. Knowing you won't give up for their sakes (even if one of them is driving you crazy!) and recognizing your own pain, says to me (for what its worth!) you are "worth it"! I can empathize with the food and alcohol stuff. I had gastric bypass, and replaced my addiction to food with booze. You are NOT crazy for transferring one addiction to another. Give yourself the time to work it through with a professional healer. Wishing you all the best, KrazyKat

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Okies, sitrep.

Been drinking too much each night for 9 months+ until Friday, so 6 days ago. As in, 6 out of 7 days on average, to oblivion.

Stopped drinking LIKE THAT, just the first night one small measure, the third night one small measure, then the sixth (TONIGHT) a good few.

Stopped the lithium from 1000mg at serum level 0.4 (0.7 was all time max) at same time after tapering by missing doses here and there rather than reducing, cos of gastro disturbances and "maybe" weight gain, but until cutting out alcohol can't be sure.

Swapped Sertraline 200mg for MACA 500mg for the week, adding Diazepam as needed (already prescribed for irritability) and Zopiclone to sleep (long term when needed).

Today noticed a real difference in mood, hence taking the Sertraline rather than MACA, and took 400mg Lithium. Stil felt high, (durr...) and had a few drinks.

Thing is, I've struggled with how I've felt (predominantly depressed, suicidal ideation without means or plans) for so long, I just wanted to feel different from that, even if it meant being hypomanic. Or whatever I am. But I have really noticed the difference, after being so down for so long, what a change in me when "happy", or "normal", or "hypomanic", whatever it turns out to be. Less inhibited, more outgoing, more able to shrug off perceived sleights, a bit (but only a bit) out of control. Like, I know I'm acting weird, but just don't care.

I quit the Lithium and alcohol for the week to see if it made a difference to weight and mood. It's affected my mood to the point that I took Lith again cos I was uneasy about my thoughts/feelings/attitude/behaviour, and had a drink cos I wanted relief from the out of control feeling. I hope to take the Lith for another week without drinking so I can see what affects what, cos mood is only one part of it for me. Weight gain is a deal-breaker for various reasons which are irrelevant here, I don't know how much of my weight gain is the effects of Lith and how much the alcohol, considering I only drink diet mixers with it, but I know the extra calories can't be helping.

Thanks to everyone who reads this, I know from experience it's not always easy to reply. But anyone recognising any of this, I hope it helps to know that there's someone here, at least, who gets it. Bipolar, alcoholic, whatever - it all points to needing something or someone to support you when you're struggling. And sometimes, just someone to listen without judging is more than enough.

Cheers all.... no pun intended(!)

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