New Beginnings?

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Recently, I've been through some real life changes and can now admit that I am alcohol dependent. I have found myself the last few weeks imagining life without alcohol and find myself seeking out others on the web whom I can relate to, all whilst having a drink. I have seeked help as I think the withdrawal symptoms will be tough, but am no 14 on the waiting list to be assessed. My heart is telling me to just bite the bullet and go it alone but I fear I will be setting myself up to fail from the beginning .

Some background info on me . . . I have struggled with alcohol since my teenage years, but have had periods of not drinking mainly due to certain relationships and lifestyles. I spent 3 months in rehab as an inpatient in 2008, have been sober on and off for some long periods and short periods but have been drinking daily for the past 3 years once again. I am drinking a half litre of vodka per evening, working full time and transitioning as a single mum after separating from my husband a few months ago. I really feel like I want to stop for good this time but not sure I have the willpower to do it alone. I did try AA back in 2008 but felt it wasn't for me at that time, mainly because I thought I could drink in moderation and didn't really have a problem.

I'm just putting this out there in the hope that someone can offer some advice and guidance. 

Thanks for reading x

1 like, 24 replies

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24 Replies

  • Posted

    You will suffer cold turkey (very unpleasant) for probably four days with that sort of daily drinking over 3 years. Do not consider giving up without medical help.

    Ideally a home detox with medication from your GP. Or maybe visiting one of the alcohol rehab charities, sometimes they're good and equally they're not.

    There are other medications you can take that can help you reduce your drinking or taper it off completely, depending on what is your aim.

    Keep posting, plenty of details and people will respond. No one judges anyone here.

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    • Posted

      Thank you! I'm not one for reaching out but beginning to realise that it may be the only way to beat this disease.

      i have approached my Gp several times to no avail. Been referred to a service which deals with addiction and they have suggested perhaps going in as an inpatient once again to detox, which really is not an option.

      In 2008 I overdosed whilst extremely drunk on Antabuse. I was then on various medications whilst an inpatient and outpatient to help with cravings etc but have now been told that my Gp does not prescribe any of these now and I have to be assessed by an alcohol service before obtaining any medication which may help, which I am on the waiting list for. 

      I feel eel like I am at a point in my life where I just don't want to do it anymore, whilst telling myself I'm stupid for even believing that I can change. There has to be more to life than this tho, I have started exercising and am feeling good for that, but the alcohol remains to take president in all my thoughts and actions on a daily basis. 

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    • Posted

      Forgot to add, that I now realise I have to stop drinking full stop!! The past 8 years have proved that I will never be in control where alcohol is concerned! 

       

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    • Posted

      There are one or two people on this forum that are professionals, the rest of us all had/are having a problem with alcohol, so we've been there and understand. Of course there is a time when every one says, enough is enough and wants to do something about it.

      Your GP is right in that there has been a change in guidance from the GMC, and generally they are advised to push you in the direction of a rehab centre charity. Now, there are some good GPs that will still help, such as mine and there are a lot, that won't entertain the discussion and tell you to contact rehab.

      In the same way, there are alcohol rehab charities that have the right attitude, and have knowledgeable staff, and there are the chocolate teapots, that suggest things like keeping a drinks diairy. Or. want you to have to wait two to three months before they will detox.

      The place that you have been referred to for an inpatient detox, is that private or public - i.e. are you expected to pay for it.

      Antabuse is treated like the devil's spawn here, a horrible drug that is well past it's sell by date. The medications you will hear mentioned are. Benzos, such as diazepam, Librium etc, that get you over the cold turkey period.

      Then there is nalmefene/naltrexone (very similar) that allow you to drink, but dull your sense to alcohol a bit, so that you don't quite have the same urge to drink. It's a little more complicated than that, but that will do for now.

      The other is Campral, which you take after a detox if you wish to give up alcohol completely, it is an anti-craving drug, that stops your body saying, it's about time for a drink now.

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    • Posted

      Peolple say that, but it is not easy to do. it is the route I took. But it takes a long hard think, to tell yourself, never again, not Christmas, not birthdays, not treats, not on holiday, not with a meal, not ever, no alcohol.

      My hand was forced in the matter, which was why it was an easier decision for me.

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    • Posted

      "... I will never be in control where alcohol is concerned! "

      Vodka, have a look at this, it talks about the Nalmefene / Naltrexone that RHGB mentioned. It's designed to put you back in control of drinking and has a high success rate. It also helps you taper off gradually, so detox may not be needed:

      https://patient.info/health/sinclair-method-for-alcohol-use-disorder

      I've used it to decrease my drinking from about 12 beers a day to 4 per day over a two month period with no "white-knuckling" at all. I've got further to go with it and will be cured in the sense that I won't crave alcohol anymore, but that will be another month or more down the road. At that point, I may choose to be abstinent, or to (for instance) have only a couple of drinks on social occasions, but the choice will be mine. I will no longer be "driven" to drink to excess.

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    • Posted

      Such wise words!! I've been on both Librium and Campral in the past but at a time where I was in denial of my addiction. It has been suggested that I re enter the route of public detox, which may address my symptoms more quickly, but as a single mother and full time worker that's really not an option. Where's the magic wand?!!!!
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    • Posted

      Find your local alcohol rehab centre - such as Addaction or whoever it is for your area and see if they are manned by sensible people. You will need a detox for Campral to work and they wouldn't give it to you until then anyway.

      I had my detox from my GP, then went to Addaction for my Campral. I have to see them about once a month, I'm sure they do evening appointments for people that can't get time away from work each month.

      Sometimes you have to tell them what you want and why you want it. I had to say to my GP, the second time I wanted a detox within six months, why she should give it ot me, what was different. I said, I don't know, but what I do know, is that if you don't help me, I will have no choice but to go to the pub at lunchtime.

      I had a little battle with Addaction as well, but I'm the sort of person that says, yes, I heard the answer was no, but that is the wrong answer. So how do we get to the right answer where you help me.

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    • Posted

      RHGB. I disagree with the way you say rehab is an option. Rehab to me is where you go for a week, month or months. I've been there as you know. Addaction or local alcohol help is not the same. I'm bringing this up as I don't want people to have false hope. 
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    • Posted

      You can disagree with me any time, that is your prerogative, but...

      Rehab is short for rehabilitation, nothing more. Rehab is referred to by many alcohol resource centres and instituions as a home rehab or inpatient rehab. And can be just a detox or a detox and ongoing medication or yes, if the patient is beyond normal help and endanger of their life, then a hospital rehab (private or NHS) maybe the only solution.

      The percentage of people who have a full blown hospital rehab and are pumped full of IV medications, external monitoing, drains, and endoscopy is very small.

      Don't forget, when I went into hospital for my stroke, I also went jaundiced and had liver failure, had all the treatment including endoscopy. And to this day, I'm still seeing people, with my upcoming visit to the gastroenteroligist. Because I'm in the top 2% at risk at my GP surgery (stroke + liver issues), I have two GPs assigned to me, so that if one is on holiday, the other is up to speed with my case, rather than just reading the notes on the system. Plus at the grand old age of 50, I am badgered every year to have my free flu vaccination (which I refuse) even though I'm well out the normal arge range for the free jabs.

      So I too, sadly, I'm only too aware of how far it can go. But for most, it does not involve being an inpatient. The costs are very high and the disruption to people's lives is immense, especially if they are holding down a job.

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    • Posted

      I used to think that detox was not an option as a "single" mother and working...and it really wasn't at the time.  So, even thou that is your best chance at success...you won't go...just as I didn't.  And then it gets to a day where you find a way to go...because it becomes life or death.  It took me years to get to that point tho.

      ​So, for you....I think the suggestion that has been given is to get the medication (wait for the waiting list) and get the medication that helps you to moderate your drinking...and maybe you will get to a point where you aren't drinking as much...therefore won't need medical detox...and that seems to be the only "hope" for you at this point in your life.

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    • Posted

      Thanks ADEfree,I have read some articles about this before and it looks helpful. Who prescribes this for you? Is it medication that is reluctantly given? 
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    • Posted

      Fortunately, I have a doctor that is quite familiar with The Sinclair Method, he's been a great help. If one goes to a GP (or even an addiction "specialist") you may have to educate them first, but some are open to the idea, others not so much.
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  • Posted

    From half a litre of vodka a day, it is very likely that, whatever ongoing treatment you choose, a detox will be necessary at first. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms are dangerous and can even kill, so don't even consider going cold turkey if you DO get physical withdrawal symptoms when you try to stop.

    You need a week to do a detox so you should try and get it sorted when you can get a week off work or simply go off sick. You are entitled to sort out a medical problem, which is what this is.

    The reason it is difficult to get a GP to give you medication for alcohol detox these days is that it is dangerous. I give people alcohol detox (I am one of the professionals RHGB mentioned) and do it ONLY with various things in place to ensure that my patient is safe. This means them not being left alone, not holding the medication themselves (so a relative or friend acts as 'supervisor'). This is not because I think everyone with an alcohol issue can't be trusted but because some DO get into a mess, forget what pills they took, have a drink as well as the pills, get unsteady on their feet due to the medication, can have their blood pressure drop (I ensure I am contacted with the blood pressure and pulse before EVERY dose of medication). They get 24 hour telephone support and ALL of this is because it is necessary to ensure that the detox is safe and effective. A GP simply can't offer that sort of service and the NHS puts very few resources into alcohol treatment, meaning that home detoxes are impossible to get in most areas of the country.

    I hope that the services in your area can give you what you need, Vodka07. Please don't take any risks.

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    • Posted

      Thank you all for taking the time to reply, it's much appreciated!

      Another day, another battle. I have tried to cut down on several occasions since Xmas but have found the withdrawal symptoms too hard to deal with. I have previously done a home detox with my sister as supervisor previously. I moved in with her for months and it was both extremely helpful, with periods of excerise and living healthy, to outright craziness, where I would escape from the house in order to have a drink!! My family were supportive at that time but it has left them feeling drained and hopeless as I have always reinterred my obsessive relationship with alcohol. I really do not think they would be able to offer me the support and guidance once more.

      I have also been confronted by the stigma of asking for help. I had a health visitor turn up at my door after going to my Gp. Whilst I understand they have a duty of care to my children, I feel like asking for help brings more complications. I have been told to surrender my driving license, in case of fitting behind the wheel. People do look at you differently when you are honest and reaching out for help. I can deal with that if I am receiving the support I need, but at the present time this is not the case.

      I always have the option to receive help though psychiatric services, which may be my best option to get help with rehab. I am diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder and have always been honest about the relationship I have with depression and alcohol.

      So many questions, not many answers it feels. 

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    • Posted

      I realise that the post was to Pual and I will leave him to answer, but I had to make a couple of comments.

      The health visitor? I don't have children (thank god, so there is none to be taken away from me) but is 'health visitor' a euphinism for 'social services' (nothing social about them, they are comepletely socially devoid and inept) we've come to take your kids away?

      When you say you have been 'told' to surrender your licence, by whom and is it a request or demand?

      This is all big brother statism at it's best, with thought crime and pre-trial. George Orwell, would be turning in his grave.

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    • Posted

      It makes me very sad to repeatedly see stories such as yours, Vodka07. Where family lose patience and withdraw support and questions are asked about your suitability as a mother.

      Why have you been told to surrender your driving licence? Have you actually HAD a seizure? They can't ask you do that IN CASE you have a seizure, if you have never had one.

      As a qualified mental health nurse, the term 'Borderline Personality Disorder' irritates me. It seems to be a label that is thrown around all the time for people who have difficulties and can't be slotted easily into any other category. EVERYBODY who has a problem with alcohol has changes in their personality, mostly because they suffer a medical disorder and everybody keeps telling them that it's their fault and they are a bad person. Who wouldn't struggle with that?

      In a few years time, we will watch documentaries of a historic nature about 'the scandal of addiction treatments from the late 20th and early 21st centuries.' Because that is what this is. It is similar to the witch hunting of people with mental health problems which is a little further back in history. Punitive treatments for a medical disorder which is genetic and NOT a lifestyle choice, are an absolute scandal.

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    • Posted

      Such a comforting post Paul. There are so many barriers I find myself facing in this process, but also realise that for the first time in my life I have had a realisation about what I am doing to myself and those close to me. One of the main difficulties is that I work in "social services" and the place I have been referred to is one where many of my clients attend for their addiction!! I was diagnosed with clinical depression after my time in hospital (3 months) but recently been given the label of BPD, which I have struggled to understand. I don't think professionals always realise the stigma of the label, and how such can ultimately set you back so much that you start to self destruct once again.
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    • Posted

      Certainly sounds like big brother at its worst.

      I assumed vodka was referring to a health visitor assigned to her GP surgery, rather than a social worker for social services, but could be wrong.

      Sounds like she went to her GP for help, was referred to alcohol services, and in the meantime GP asked a health visitor to call and assess the situation.

       

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    • Posted

      hi vodka

      Just realised I've replied to RHGB, when I should have replied to you too.

      My apologies as it looks like I'm discussing you with someone else. I was trying to explain about the health visitor. Did I get it right?

      Also, who asked you about your driving licence? Was this from DVLC as I assume that's where you would have to surrender it to?

      Cant believe your GP referred you to get help where you work, unbelievable!

      Not surprised you're reticent about going there. I know at one time I certainly wouldn't go, especially wihen my kids were young

      i should try not to dwell on what other people might think of you, and the stigma attached to people with alcohol problems. I was the talk of the playground when I lost my driving licence. People are very quick to judge without full knowledge of all the facts.

      you certainly won't be judged on here, we've all been there and are all ha e different ways of dealing with alcohol problems xx

      ps a lot more 'professionals' have alcohol problems than you would imagine .especially the medical profession!!!

       

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    • Posted

      Well, I think that a GP, whose job it is, to help their patients would say, 'I'm going to book an appointment for the surgery heaalth visitor to come and see you and make sure you're okay'.

      An unannounced visit out of the blue sounds more like the stasi social services - remember, she said 'turn up at her door', that doesn't sound like she expected it.

      This is where I have been lucky with GPs, they have had common sense - rules are for the obeyance of fools and the guidance of all others.

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    • Posted

      That's exactly the case vickylou. And whilst the health visitor was extremely helpful and understanding, it just leaves me feeling extremely upset of the aftermath of asking for help. It was suggested by the alcohol support service I was referred to that I should be surrendering my drivers license, even tho I have not fitted in the past. This was also the case as an inpatient in detox previously, but I did not contact the dvla.
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    • Posted

      Personally I wouldn't do it, you are likely to put on some register, if not now, one that is created at a later date. The DVLA already sell off information and I as an individual can fill in form V888 and get the vehicle's owners address for about £3.00.

      No doubt you'll be put in some special 'at risk' category in the future and be asked in to see a doctor for a medical (which you will have to pay for), to keep renewing your licence. Governments have a track record of using data for different purpose to that it was originally intended.

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