Tapering off with beer?

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Okay. I know that everyone on this forum has been in this situation.

It gets to the point where you know you need to stop, but the thought of stopping is a major step.

Two weeks ago, I decided that enough was enough. My three bottles a day habit was starting to get out of control. I would wake up in the morning and my husband would ask me if I was okay. "Yes of course I'm okay. Why?" "Because you fell over last night." The blackouts were starting to scare me.

Sunday I decided that I would start tapering off the following day. Luckily I have a supportive husband and admitted my problem. He bought me very small lagers and printed out the tapering off method from the internet.

Monday: I had the shakes in the morning after three bottles of wine the day before. Luckily I work from home. I had six beers and stopped myself from buying a bottle of wine in the evening. Really bad sleep, nightmares, palpatations and a constant craving for what I knew would help me.

Tuesday: Didn't really wake up okay as I hadn't slept much. Started work. Had four small beers and didn't crave for wine in the evening. I felt shaky and strange. Went to bed and slept for three hours which was unusual for me.

Wednesday: I woke up feeling different. Almost human. I got loads of work done and didn't want a drink. I had one small beer with my dinner and went to bed. I slept for about four hours, had some water and went back to sleep. Amazing.

Thursday: Well I've been a good girl this week. I'll treat myself to a glass of wine. Big mistake. Two bottles down.

Friday: We're going away this weekend. I could just not drink during the week surely? Another two bottles of wine. A few shots at the local........

A week later I'm back where I started.

My problem is that I am scared of stopping. I now know that I can get through the tapering off method without life threatening withdrawals but I contradict myself constantly. My mum has Alzheimer's. I'm helping her, so I need a drink. Oh, I've had a bad day so I deserve a glass of wine, or six. My child is disabled. I deserve a drink because I've had a bad day. The cycle is endless.

I went to the GP yesterday and cried. I told him (it was a locum) that I had a problem. I explained that I couldnt sleep without a drink. I have nightmares (because of my PTSD) and my stomach is playing havoc with my life. He said, "Obviously you have IBS." I said, "Obviously?" He said, "Well yes. you don't drink enough for it to affect your stomach." I walked out of the surgery saying, "Well thanks anyway."

Sorry for the long post but I am really trying and wanted some advice/encouragement to try this tapering off again next week. Does it work? Has anyome done it successfully?

I have already applied to be a patient for a different surgery and will be honest with them too. Hopefully they will point me in the right direction.

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  • Posted

    There are many facets to living with alcohol.

    From your post, you are addicted and are suffering withdrawal symptoms, that make it very unpleasant to come off alcohol - cold turkey. Tapering doesn't work for most people, because once they've had a couple of drinks, they get the 'buzz' and their will power disappears.

    If you want to come off the alcohol, you need to detox, diazepam. Unfortunately what you will find is that GPs and the alcohol recovery centres that they direct you to, are woefully inadequate and they really don't understand/want to understand, heavy daily drinking/alcoholism.

    When you say, stop, could you define that. Stop for ever, stop for a while, be able to cut down to a sensible drinking regime?

    The three bottles you mention, is that wine or beer?

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    • Posted

      My crutch is wine, red wine. I did ask the doctor for Diazepam because I always had that on repeat prescription for PTSD. We moved house and the new surgery don't prescribe it anymore.

      I was totally honest with the GP. He seemed to want me out of the room so that he could get his next patient in. He said that if I didn't feel any better by next week to come back! I lay my heart on the line and feel a bit let down at the moment. I have social phobia because of my PTSD and it took a lot to get me to the surgery. I'm not sure if I can go again.

      I've looked up Selincro on the internet and can buy it. It's expensive but worth a go. Hopefully they are a genuine supplier. I'm going to order some today. Fingers crossed.

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    • Posted

      A GP can prescribe it, and no GP does not prescribe it any more. They may be reluctant to prescribe for detox, but that is different. Not let them had behind regulations, there are no GMC/NHS rule that forbids them from prescribing it.

      My GP wasn't overly happy, but I'be been prescribed it twice in the last seven months. Unfortunately, if you are the non confrontational type, that is of no help to you.

      Selincro (nalmefene) and naltrexone are almost identical. Before you order, wait for someone to comment on here on online pharmacies they have bought from. Or at the very least, list which ones you are thinking of buying from.

      Later on, you may want to go to an alcohol recovery service, where they may give you a prescription for it.

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  • Posted

    Yesterday I took 1 pill Naltrexone 1 hour before I was going to start to drink. I have noticed that when I eat Nalterxone I dont get so drunk al with not eating it. Last weekend I was away and I got so drunk at a hotel that I was going naked in a lobby in a hotel. Lucky I have 2 dogs at home so I am always drinking at home. I usually drink 6 beers a day and I got a big belly and I hate it. I work full time, luckly if I was going to work from home I would be drinking all day. I use to now try to buy beer with lover alcoholgrade like 3,5% but then I drink a lot more but dont get so drunk. I dont want to stop because I cant imagine in the summer going out for walk and sit on a restaurant and drink a soda gud so boring. I did not know that I had to take the pill one hour before drinking, I use to take it almost every morning together with Cymbalta. I am 50 years old, no children, 2 dogs, and a twin brother who is alcoholic to ...still functioning alcoholic...
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  • Posted

    But now is weekend I live in Sweden and I have bought 8 beers 5.3 %
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    • Posted

      Have you tried to stop drinking? I'm not sure what you are saying. If you hate drinking, which we all do, are you asking for help?
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  • Posted

    I have tried to stop for one month but everything was so boring but I dont know if everything is so fun drinking. I cant stop drinking but I drink less with the Naltexone I think, but I would like to stop drinking and only drink little on fridays and saturdays but I cant...I am alkoholist so they cant stop but at the same time I want to drink but I want to drink little, I am getting fatter and poorer...and uglier...
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    • Posted

      bibi -

      You are right about taking the Naltrexone 1 hour before drinking. Did you get your Naltrexone from the internet? 

      I think you can do exactly what just talked about, get the alcohol under control and drink only a little at the end of the week, that's what The Sinclair Method is all about, it's about bringing back your ability to choose when you drink and how much you drink. If you have any questions, please let me know. 

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    • Posted

      Hello bibi, 

      I've read your posts. Sometimes you sound as if you're typing drunk or...... as you said you live in Sweden, are you Swedish? I've had conversations with a Swedish Bibi.

      My point is that I've a few Swedish and Norwegian friends and they spell words and paraphrase like you. My Scandinavian friends tell me that they like to talk to each other in a 'direkt' way when talking about their drinking problems.

      These forums will undoubtedly help and support you but do you use any support groups in Sweden or any other help there?

      I know from experience that Sandinavians help each other in a 'harsher' way than English people do and are more ready to accept it. My suggestion is that you use support in U.K. and in Sweden. I also know how much drink costs in Scandinavia and how difficult it can be to get hold of - especially in Norway. that's why many Scandinavians go crazy with booze when abroad.

      If I've got your nationality wrong, I'm sorry but if I'm right, I think you should get some help in Sweden too if you haven't yet.

      Take care. 

       

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    • Posted

      Yes I live in Sweden. I dont have any help. I will help myself. I have a twinbrother who also is an alcoholic but dont drinks every day but when he starst he cant finish. I am going to eat medication Naltrexone and my goal is not to drink every day only friday and saturday but It is hard....
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    • Posted

      As we mentioned previously, Bibi, we have a member of C3 Europe who is fluent in Swedish and willing to help you.  I have previously messaged you her email to contact her.

      Please do so and you will receive much support smile

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  • Posted

    Hi.  It's so so hard to get into the right frame of mind but you have to keep trying, like myself, or the alternative is a that we lose everything, at worst our lives. Demon drink makes us so depressed and worthless too. 

    But we have to try and stay strong and win this battle. 

    I would go for naltrexone rather than nalmephene as after reading so many posts on here, there are less side effects and it's cheaper. Though you will need to have a liver test. 

    Keep posting as we are in this together jbgf and bibi xx

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    • Posted

      Thanks Paper Fairy. How are you doing? Are you totally sober now? I can't get the medication needed from my GP. I'm going to change GPs and see if they will help me or order the meds online. If you have any recommendations of where to get them from, let me know. Good luck with your journey xx

       

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  • Posted

    No I'm not sober!! Wish I was. I've been taking naltrexone on and off for a few weeks. I am determined to see this through as I know that I can't stay totally abstinent, I just haven't the willpower. I'm on my own which makes it harder when I have a trigger. The longest I've ever stayed sober was 5 months and I was happy but was in a relationship with a man that didn't drink. (3 n half years). 

    I think RHGB is the best person to give advice on how to approach your dr and online chemists, though river pharmacy springs to mind. 

    Anyway I felt so rubbish today that slept until 2 pm, took a naltrexone at 3 and drinking white wine, with loads of ice to water it down, from 4 pm. I'm wondering if I feel so rubbish the following day is to do with my antidepressants, 50 mgs seroxat, not good with naltrexone ?? I'm sure Joanna will be able to advise me on this. 

    Sorry ive not been much help xx

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    • Posted

      Thanks for your reply. I was given seroxat a while ago and it didn't work for me, it made my depression worse. I'm on 30mgs of mirtazapine now. It's meant to help me sleep. It doesn't work.

      I was sober for five years when I had my daughter. I was in hospital for four months with her and didn't have the time to drink. I didn't even think about it. I stayed sober after that until my mum got Alzheimer's. I picked up a bottle to numb the pain of what I was going through. My dad had already passed away and I helped myself by drinking.

      Now I can't stop.

      PM me. It would be nice to know if you drink as much as I do. Just the thought that I'm not on my own would help. I do try. I had a day a couple of weeks ago when I only drank one unit. I was so proud of myself. The next day I treated myself to two bottles of wine.... The cycle goes on. I have a bottle of my favourite red wine next to me now. I'm trying to take it slowly but keep thinking, sod it.....

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    • Posted

      Thanks for reply. I always liked to drink, red wine was fav too. I controlled it for many years as I have 3 children...now age 23,20 and 16. Also ran a successful biz for 15 years. Then I crashed in 2007. Kept going as a functioning Alcohol user until 2012 and went in rehab. Been on and off the drink since then plus sold biz in 2013. I used to drink 1, 1 n half, 2 and 2 n half of white, depending on mood. Since taking naltrexone I'm on a bottle ( sometimes 3/4 or sometimes a bottle and a glass or two more. What ever I drink I still feel rubbish the next day tbh. So there you go xx
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    • Posted

      I wouldn't wish Seroxat on my worst enemy. About 15/16 years ago my wife took that for depression.

      It really made her into a bit of a zombie, didn't mix with alcohol at all. She was always passing out and falling down. So she came off of it after two months.

      There's plenty of bad publicity on the internet about it. Last time I looked it was withdrawn from being given to adolescents because of suicidal thoughts.

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    • Posted

      Paper, I just sent a PM wrt the Seroxat. 

      Sorry you're still getting hangovers. Hang in there, it sounds like you've gotten a good reduction in your drinking so far!

       

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    • Posted

      I'm seeing people talking about SSRI's and increased drinking in general, but there are those that say their drinking went down as well, for the very same antidepressant. Seems peculiar to the person, just like getting the right antidepressant in the first place even without alcohol in the picture. 
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    • Posted

      Hi, I've just asked P/f if she'll put me in the picture about the two drugs commonly mentioned here - Seratox and Naltrexone.

      One of the posts says to ask you about them; I don't know a thing about them.

      We've exchanged views in the past so you'll know I've been sober for a long time but we never know what will happen. Thanks.

       

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    • Posted

      I am sure Paul or Joanna will comment as well, as this is there speciality.

      The two medications are Selincro (nalmefene) and naltrexone.

      (Seroxat is an SSRI anti-depressant and not an alcohol dependency medication).

      They are very very similar, both having their own pros and cons. One is easier to get hold of throught the NHS, doesn't require an LFT and olny takes an hour to work before drinking can start.

      The other generally ends up being bought privately, does require periodic LFTs, requires a two hour window before drinking, but seems to have less side effects than the other. Both generally initially have side effects, but they tend to subside.

      They basically work on the opiod receptors and in layman's terms they dull the sense to alcohol, therefore taking that 'hit' or buzz away. This over time trains people's brains not to expect that 'hit' that they previously got and alcohol starts to lose the fascination it once held.

      This allows people to drink in moderation like a normal person would. The medication is only taken on the days they are going to drink. I belive it has an 80% success ration and 40% go on to be abstinate.

      As I said, Paul & Joanna are the experts on these medications, both in the field of working with these two medications. I myself use Campral (acamprosate) which is for abstinence. Where we diasagree is that I use Campral because for my circumstances it is best, and whilst I would give anybody any advice/help on the subject, I would not try to preach it to anyone else, just because it works for me, doesn't mean that it is a good route for others. Also, after decades of drinking, I believe that alcohol changes the body and mind, and that a drug (medication) is required to reverse the problems that a drug (alcohol) has introduced.

      I don't believe there are many that can just get up one day and quit alcohol. There are probably many who say they managed it, but they are the vocal minority. The majority that lived short lives decimated by alcohol, don't tend to come on forums and shout and boast about it. At most they will read quietly from the side lines.

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    • Posted

      Thank you; I now have an understanding about what is being talked about. I want to remain sober without using any medication but, as I said, we just never know what will happen. As you said, maybe paul and Joanna who's names I've seen mentioned a lot may post to me but your information seems sound.
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    • Posted

      Hello Colin,

      In a post to Paper Fairy you mentioned that you had read and studied a lot of information about using medication to reduce and cope with alcohol abuse, so I am quite suprised that you have not heard of either naltrexone or nalmefene (Selincro).  They are not new medications and naltrexone in particular was approved for use in AUD back in the mid 1990's - but just not the way people use it here.  Nalmefene is just as old, but has recently been approved across Europe (2013) specifically to help reduce drinking, though of course that reduction can continue until abstinence is achieved if someone wishes to do so.

      It is the same type of opioid-antagonist medication as naloxone, which has recently been approved for use to give to those who have experienced an opiate overdose, and can reverse the effects of the overdose if given quickly enough.  Opioid-antagonist medications are literally life-saving medications.

      Over 20 years of research into using these medications for AUD was made by Dr David Sinclair, at the worlds top alcohol research factility in Finland.  Dr Sinclair, an American native, moved his family to Finland in order to be able to research at this institution.

      His research led the way to show that alcohol relapses are due to the Alcohol Deprevation Effect (ADE) which means that a change has taken place in the brain in response to alcohol consumption.  The longer someone suffering with AUD is detained or tries to keep away from alcohol, the worse the cravings become until the mostly inevitable relapse occurs.  This is a suitable explanation for why so many people relapse so soon after leaving a rehab facility.

      His research (and subsequent 120+ clinical trials) also showed that if drinking took place after an opioid-blocking medication was ingested, the endorphin rush given by the alcohol was removed from the situation.  Without this endorphin rush, drinking loses it's appeal as it is no longer rewarding.  Over some months repeated drinking on an opioid-blocking medication, the brain is reversed back to its de-addicted condition.  This is called Pharmacological Extinction.

      At this point, someone can chose to go completely abstinent, if they wish, or continue to drink socially/occasionally (always after taking a tablet so that the endorphin rush is not re-established).

      More information can be found here https://patient.info/health/sinclair-method-for-alcohol-use-disorder

      I can use myself as a practical example:

      I began this method in October 2013.  During the first three months I experienced some improvement in my drinking (though that includes a period when it was up and down) and it took approx 8 months for me to reach that extinction point - I literally could take it or leave it, and it no longer bothered me.

      Now, I drink perhaps one every two or three weeks, usually when out with family. I take my naltrexone tablet one hour prior to protect myself from every sliding backwards again, but it means I can enjoy not only the taste of an odd drink or two, but also the social aspect of it, too.

      It's also interesting that recently we have become aware of several long-term AA recoverees who have stumbled across this method and decided to try the method as they are sober, but still often uncomfortable with cravings.  This is purely annecdotal at this point, but it appears from their time on this method they are finding it much easier to adjust and for it to work.  We suspect that it might be because they do not appear to have a current drinking 'habit' to fight against.

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    • Posted

      And are you sure Naltrexone is as good as Selincro?

      I now took one Friday one hour before I started to drink. I noticed that I did not drink so much as I use to. I am going to contiunue.

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    • Posted

      They are both opioid-blocking medications and as long as they are taken in the correct dosage (1 tablet) with the required waiting time (1 hour for naltrexone, 2 hours for Selincro) then the receptors in the brain will be blocked to the endorphin release.

      Once the receptors are blocked it is like a locked door, so no matter which of the two medications you take the endorphins will not attached to the receptors in the brain - the reward circuit is broken, the wire is cut.

      With that circuit in the brain unable to connect, the part of your behaviour that causes the 'more, more, more' message just doesn't happen.  Hence you can learn new ways to manage your drinking and drinking less is much easier without that incessant drive to continue.

       

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    • Posted

      Thank you for writing a long informative post to me; I'll study the link you sent to me........ with more conentration than my previous research.

      The reason I asked initially is to arm myself with as much info' as I can in case I do relapse....... we never know what tomorrow will bring.

      I don't want to waste anyone's time, I just wanted to know what people were talking about and arm myself with information. I'm happy having been sober for a long time and I have no cravings or desire to drink alcohol at all.

      I'm happy to socialise with an orange juice or similar but I don't stay around drunks. I don't want to drink. This may sound dangerous and maybe unethical to some as a sober aloholic but I actually sell alcohol in my restaurant. 

      Thanks again.

       

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