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Okay, so I've been drinking off and on since I was 21. I'm 31 now. I figure on the 10th anniversary of my start with drinking, I might as well try and finally be done with it as well.
A little background. I have long had various crippling anxieties and a severe medical and health anxiety that basically cripples my every day. Have had this since I was a child. I posted a much larger and detailed explanation of this in the anxiety forum if anyone wants the entire book. I want to focus on the alcohol here, but it's important to realize that I have a severe medical phobia that prevents me from taking medications, even tylenol or ibuprofen. If only I could alcohol into that category, I'd be fine.
I started drinking at 21 as a social thing. I had friends with anxieties like my own and instead of going out, we would play video games together and drink. What started social turned into a tool. As soon as I realized it was the best sleep aid I'd ever found, it became something I did every night before bed. I tried to stop once just because it was too expensive, but then I got a better job, so went back to it. Then I tried to stop again, because I was afraid for my health. I stopped cold turkey from drinking a pint of whiskey a night the first time, and I made it about a week until I could afford more. So from about that point until last year, I was drinking again. Last year, I tried to taper off with whiskey, and that worked about as well as something that doesn't work, so I started drinking one glass of wine in the morning and one at night. That worked for about six days. My problem is the health anxiety has me afraid of withdrawals that I've actually never experienced when I quit. The only symptoms I have are constipation for a few days when I do quit. Then what happens is I'll think about withdrawals, start having a panic attack, and my brain basically goes, "this is it, these are the withdrawals that will kill you!" And I'm drunk by midnight. I was doing so well, though. Not drinking makes my overall anxiety so amazingly better for me. So much so that when I know I have something coming up that's stressful on a certain, I intentionally /don't/ drink the nght before. I won't sleep well, but the sleepiness is better than the day completely wrecked by the anxiety that's inevitable from having been drunk the night before. So I don't even drink to deal with daily stress, just to sleep. I'm sick of that, but every time I try to stop, anxiety makes me think I'm in DT (nowhere near), and no force of will stops me from drinking that feeling away. I've tried to go the route of getting on medication, but it took an act of God almost to get me even to talk to a doctor because of my medical anxieties. Then I just couldn't make myself even take the medicine once I had it. So, to my question. Does anyone know of a good tapering system that I can prolong, so that the entire experience dwindles slowly so that I'm confronted as often with the fear of withdrawal? I basically want to trick my brain that I can't have withdrawals while I'm on a taper. The two glasses of wine worked, but not well enough. I don't really like beer, but I'll use it if there's a better taper with it. I can't taper with whiskey. I just end up drinking it. It's a taste and smell that comforts me instantly. When I was little my grandfather drank whiskey all the time, and every time I open a bottle I'm comforted like he was around. I know, that's probably weird. I have to break that association with it, and move on. Any taper advice?
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