New. Confused. Continuum of alcohol?

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Hi. So I’ve been a heavy/binge drinker for many years. I have complex ptsd (all my life) and MPS. I have known I have a big drinking problem. Won’t argue that. But I have always had a very hard time figuring out what I need to do and would work for me. 

I can not drink for a couple/few days if I force myself and will not really have to physical withdrawals. I don’t have legal issues. I resigned from work (because my ptsd got worse) 6 yrs ago so I don’t have issues there. 

I drink a 750ml bottle of wine or a fifth of whisky in a matter of anfee hours each evening. Over the years when I have quit, I cannot stay quit. I tried AA but it triggers my ptsd horribly and actually makes things worse. Not something debatable. 

I can’t feel like I belong in a rehab because I’m not physically dependent. I don’t need detox perse. By sheer facts, I am not a textbook (addicted physically) alcoholic. But I know I need help. I think it’s causing me some physical health issues now. For years I never experienced a blackout. Now that’s a regular occurrence. I just don’t know where I belong. I would have loved to do SMART but there’s nothing anywhere near me (I’m in the middle of country no where).

I have an appt this week to talk about antabuse. Just....not sure. In one respect I’m so ready to be done. On the other hand I’m scared and don’t know what to do...or what I’ll do without alcohol. I use it for deep emotional pain that I don’t think I can deal with, and for serious physical pain too. Maybe something like antabuse will ‘force’ my own hand and give me the consequnce I need to not drink. Thoughts? (Kind ones please. Blunt is ok, but not abusive. Been there done that). Thx

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14 Replies

  • Posted

    Cant figure how to edit my post. I meant that I drink the 1.5 liter bottle each night. Not 750ml. But then...I’m usually past buying bottles and just go through a box every couple days.  
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  • Posted

    You may want to look into Naltrexone or Acamprosate, Nixxie. With Acamprosate, you dry out and take it for a couple of weeks so it has time to kick in and it tends to neutralize your drinking triggers. 

    Naltrexone can be use a couple of ways, but the one I have in mind is The Sinclair Method. You take it an hour before drinking, only on drinking days. It eventually stops the addicted part of your brain from seeking out alcohol by reversing the addiction process and making you indifferent to booze. It might be best to talk to an addictions Psychiatrist that has successfully helped people with these medications. 

    Have you tried EMDR for the PTSD?

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    • Posted

      Thanks for your reply.

      EMDR is not an option for me. My PTSD is the complex sort and I’m just way too reactive to even risk it. I know it works for some....but contraindicated for most like me.

      I will definitely ask about the Naltrexone. I figure though that if I can deink on something....I will. If it truly makes it so drinking is utterly unappealing I would try it. But I’d almost worry that I’d just drink more to tey harder to get my effect. ? Seeing someone soon. Appreciate the info. Helps me know what to ask about. 

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    • Posted

      People's experience of drinking on Naltrexone seems to vary. Some say that something, a "rush" is missing. I didn't really notice any difference in how drinking felt on Naltrexone, but it worked anyway. Naltrexone won't stop you from getting drunk if you overdrink, it just stops the addicted part of your brain from remembering that you enjoyed the drink. That's what causes the addiction to start fading to the degree that you eventually (over many months) become indifferent to alcohol, like you were before you got addicted. 

      So drinking will still have the same effects on your GABA and Glutamate receptors, which will lend a calming effect as always. Naltrexone doesn't affect those receptors at all. Sounds like it might be worth a spin, but keep on working on the PTSD so the one problem doesn't derail your work on the other problem. I would imagine that rebound anxiety the next day (booze giveth and booze taketh away) might make life with PTSD more difficult as well, so you might make some gains there by gradually throttling back on the alcohol. 

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    • Posted

      Interesting. Anythings worth trying. 

      I guess my next question would be something like....am I really even addicted if I don’t have physical withdrawals without it? In the loose sense, yes....or I’d be able to stop on my own. But if you bave to be a physically addicted alcoholic for it to work.....

      Well, I will be going over all this with the doc. Again....thanks so much. 

      I do work....very slowly (sometimes more than others as I’m ready) on my cptsd. It’s a long, hard process because I have a lot of dissociation and avoidance. Maybe I’ll even ask about the EMDR. But from what I have read, you have to be able to bring up a memory to deal with and....I can hardly and rarely do that. 

      Thanks again

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  • Posted

    Oh, and you can't edit the posts here, btw. Hopefully they'll add that feature someday...

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  • Posted

    Hi Nixie. I am just wondering if if you're in the USA? If so, can you get those medicines suggested by adefree?

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    • Posted

      If insurance won't cover them for some reason, GoodRx (dot) com can get you a discount at local pharmacies. I used it, (paid cash, didn't offer my SSN) and went to a different pharmacy than usual, as I didn't want anything on my record. It was under 40 bucks for 30 tabs of generic Naltrexone. No need to join or create an account, just put in the medication you're looking for and your zip code. 

      "I guess my next question would be something like....am I really even addicted if I don’t have physical withdrawals without it?"

      Most people seem to be neurologically addicted. There are some that do well with strict abstinence programs like AA, LifeRing, SMART Recovery, etc., but most seem to relapse time after time and many relapse harder each time after holding off as long as they can. Many don't have a physical dependence on alcohol, but their Reward System is still hijacked by it and that compels them to drink. 

      Drinking on Naltrexone (TSM, Targeted Naltrexone) blocks the endorphins that created the neurochemical cascade that put the programming in the Reward System. Without that uninterrupted cascade, the Reward System begins to "forget" that alcohol is worth writing home about. Eventually, the neurological programming (actual neurological connections built from neurons and synapses) degrades to the point that one becomes indifferent to alcohol, like they were before they became addicted. You may still have stressors in your life, but they won't cause you to think of using alcohol as a remedy. 

      This might be an interesting paper for you to read, Google:

      "Naltrexone and Prazosin Combination for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Alcohol Use Disorder"

      Daily Naltrexone was used for that fellow, but that doesn't have the best track record (although it does help some people with AUD in the long term). It's Targeted Naltrexone that seems to be much more effective. 

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    • Posted

      Great. Thanks for the discount info. Will look into it. I too would rather it be off my record anyway. 

      So do you think somebody can drink for many years....even a lifetime, but never become physically addicted? Are they still alcoholics? I know of someone who has drank their lifetime, still doesn’t have withdrawals or even health issues really. I guess I just don’t get what really constitutes an alcoholic anymore. I do not a few criteria. But of those I do meet....I really nail. Sounds like this med is something to consider regardless. 

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    • Posted

      I would imagine some might be able to moderate such that they never become physically dependent, but as to whether they're neurologically addicted or not, they can try stopping and find out. They may find that it's (for instance) a habit for them and coping skills will be sufficient to keep them away from it. If, OTOH they relapse and get as deep or deeper into it, they might well do better with another approach. 

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    • Posted

      Well, Targeted Naltrexone does take a number of months. If you get along with the medication and drinking less doesn't exacerbate the CPTSD such that it would drive you off the Naltrexone, it might be a good fit for you. Then again, Topamax, Acamprosate or Baclofen might be the better choice for you. Naltrexone per TSM generally has a higher success rate and is cheap enough in the generic form. Plus it can be stopped without tapering down (TSM actually relies on that, as one doesn't take the medication on dry days). 

      I can send you a link to CThree Foundation's "Find a Physician" list if you like. 

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