Bluelight

Thread: Alcohol & benzo's

Results 1 to 11 of 11
  1. Collapse Details
    Alcohol & benzo's 
    #1
    Hello,

    I found this forum fairly recently and decided to join. I need support and thought this might be a way to obtain it. Here's my story: Since I was about 16 (I'm 32 now), I've been an alcohol abuser. I've had social anxiety for basically all of my life, so this was a way to escape that. Even so, even if I wasn't at a social event, I would occasionally drink by myself, even at that young age. I'm guessing it was a way to escape myself and my anxieties. Now, fast forward to 32, and I'm still a heavy drinker. I don't drink everyday, but at least 3-4 times a week, and sometimes I go on benders where I am hungover, then drink a little to get rid of it and basically just keep drinking for days. This almost caused me to lose my job. After these little spells, I'll cut back slightly on my drinking, but I don't know how to stop and sometimes it just doesn't feel that important, even though I do know that I have a problem. It can be easy to put that part out of my mind.

    I've also been on a benzo for about 6 years for my social anxiety, along with some generalized anxiety, and low level depression. I am on a low dose (about 45 pills/month), as needed, but I know that I am addicted, psychologically and physically, to these things. Any kind of social engagement - I take these pills, and sometimes the thought of having to go without scares me. I am due to start a new job soon, and switching psychiatrists and I am scared to get through life without these, sadly.

    I've tried AD's, buspar, propranolol, you name it. I'm not a fan of AD's and mentally, I just don't think they work, none have worked for me and I hate the side effects. Recently, I was prescribed gabapentin for anxiety, 300 mg 3 X's/day. It seems to help a little bit - I feel more energetic and my craving for alcohol or benzo's has decreased. Although, I'm afraid of it no longer working since I know that tolerance builds quickly.

    My feeling is what can work after benzo's? It seems that nothing will work as well.

    Just wanted to share my story, I hope to connect with others, who have similar problems, or have gotten the monkey off their back. Thanks for reading
    Reply With Quote
     

  2. Collapse Details
     
    #2
    Moderator
    Sober Living
    The Dark Side
    aihfl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Location
    El Pueblo Loco
    Posts
    2,694
    Hello ICN, and welcome to Bluelight and Sober Living. I have a similar story to yours so I'll relate my experience to you. Unfortunately, IME, NOTHING is as effective as a benzo for acute anxiety and panic, and I'm pretty much resigned to being on them long term. I'm prescribed up to 2mg of Ativan per day, but it usually ends up only being 1 if I take it at all since I am also on 20mg Adderall for ADHD and the benzo and amphetamine would just cancel each other out.

    I was also initially prescribed gabapentin 300mg/3x a day, but it made me weirdly dizzy to the point I couldn't focus on work, so I take the entire dose at night. I've been on it for 4 years, so I doubt it's even doing anything anymore. Buspar is nothing short of a joke. Might as well take a sugar pill. I was at an anti-benzo rehab and the doctor tried to sell me on that shit and I told them I'd walk before I'd let them CT me off benzos for something that isn't nearly as effective. Propranolol has it's place - it doesn't decrease mental anxiety per se, but it does decrease the physical symptoms of anxiety - the sweating, tachycardia, etc.

    I will also say, as someone who drank heavily for 25 years, it's best to handle this situation sooner rather than later. Two of the lies alcohol told me is that 1. it'll help my anxiety and 2. it'll help my insomnia. It helps anxiety in a very short window of time, then the rebound anxiety is even worse than the anxiety you were trying to escape and I'd end up being drunk continuously for weeks, eventually needing medical help to detox. And it only makes insomnia worse. A few years ago, I bought two bottles of cheap swill wine thinking it would put me out. It didn't, and I watched the sun come up without even a minute of sleep.

    If you haven't had a really brutal detox from alcohol, I really recommend you stop now because it's inevitable you will, and it's really fucking unpleasant. I have to run but if I think of anything else to add, I'll be back later in the day.
    Struggling with addiction? Join us at Sober Living. We can help.
    Reply With Quote
     

  3. Collapse Details
     
    #3
    Bluelighter
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Chattanooga, TN
    Posts
    426
    What aihfl said.

    Peace&Love,
    jasper
    Reply With Quote
     

  4. Collapse Details
     
    #4
    Thank you for taking the time to respond, aihfl
    I haven't had any side effects from the gabapentin, thankfully. I am on the same dose you were initially prescribed, but am upping it soon. I do think it helps, overall, with my anxiety and my mood, but nothing that noticeable, yet anyway. I am pretty anti anti-depressants, since I haven't found one that works and also doesn't have a ton of side effects. I've seen more studies in the news recently questioning their effectiveness, which does not surprise me. Hopefully we'll see something effective in our life time, if only there were a magic pill!! :P

    You're right about the alcohol. My hangovers are usually pretty bad and my anxiety is WAY worse the next day. I've been in a couple of uncomfortable situations with alcohol: sweating, shaking, agoraphobia, difficulty breathing, anxiety through the roof, depression, heart palpitations - this has all been after a few days of heavy drinking. It does temporarily relax me, but I end up feeling worse than before. The gabapentin does seem to be helping with the cravings, but not as much as I'd like. I honestly think the combination of benzos + alcohol feed on eachother and say if I took benzos earlier that day and the effects have mostly worn off, I crave alcohol. They both work on the GABA system. I've heard of benzos for alcohol detox, but there's not much information on benzos causing alcohol cravings, but it makes sense to me and it's something I've noticed. I will give it more thought the next time I suspect it to happen.

    You're absolutely right about the insomnia too - it is a TERRIBLE sleep aide and it's kept me up many times, after I've dumbly consumed it hoping for sleep. Unless, you pass the fuck out, good luck. I've also woken up mid-hangover and unable to fall back asleep. If it doesn't keep you up, it does that - you wake up heart pounding and feeling like absolute shit. This is how it gets you, so you end up drinking more to get rid of the hangover, and etc.... I've done it. So far, my longest bender has only been about a week, and it was an absolutely shitty week. I try to remember those terrible, shitty moments, but it's easy to forget when I just want to have a drink
    no
    w. How short sided and ignorant we as people can be and how insidious addiction is. I know I should quit, part of me wants to, and part of me thinks, what's the big deal? Although, if I look back, I can point to things in my life, that alcohol has ruined for me. This is something I'm going to give more thought, as I'm sure I can point to many, many things. I think the longest I have been sober off of alcohol has been 5 days in recent years. I haven't been able to get past that point. I'm not an AA person nor do I want or can afford to go to rehab. I'm just at a slight loss as to how to quit, if that makes sense. Everyone says, you have to hit rock bottom, I don't believe that, but I do feel that I have to be at a place where I want to, I do... but I don't
    Reply With Quote
     

  5. Collapse Details
     
    #5
    Moderator
    Sober Living
    Mental Health
    cj's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    On a sinking boat
    Posts
    8,653
    Going to therapy and getting to the reason you crave alcohol is likely the path to lasting abstinence. But that's easier said then done. In the meantime try to keep your dose low and don't mix the benzo and alcohol together
    Addicted? Want to stop? We can help! Come to the sober living forum!
    http://www.bluelight.org/vb/forums/269-Sober-Living
    Reply With Quote
     

  6. Collapse Details
     
    #6
    Bluelighter
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Chattanooga, TN
    Posts
    426
    Good advice, cj.

    And I think "rock bottom" is bullshit. I've hit rock bottom several times and not quit. It comes down to whether you want to be sober more than you want to drink/use.

    Peace&Love,
    jasper
    Reply With Quote
     

  7. Collapse Details
     
    #7
    Moderator
    Sober Living
    The Dark Side
    aihfl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Location
    El Pueblo Loco
    Posts
    2,694
    I agree with Jasper - real rock bottom is death.

    Personally, I never abused benzos without alcohol. Alcohol was my first love and always came first. In other words, alcohol has never made me craved benzos because in reality there weak compared to alcohol and I don't find them particularly euphoric. I know benzo abusers to take 30 at a time, and the only times I did was when I as on a bender and woke up with an empty prescription bottle on the nightstand. And if you combined the two, I've woken up multiple times with soiled linens because I was out so deeply I didn't get up to piss.

    Good luck (to us all for that matter) and keep us posted on your progress.

    P. S. NEVER mix Ambien and alcohol. I will never take Ambien again after sleepwalking and shit, wrecking a lamp and some other stuff.
    Struggling with addiction? Join us at Sober Living. We can help.
    Reply With Quote
     

  8. Collapse Details
     
    #8
    Bluelighter
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Chattanooga, TN
    Posts
    426
    Yeah, mixing benzos and alcohol is risky business. I, too, have had many blackouts on that combo-- and wrecked cars, had nasty falls, wet beds, etc.

    I'm truly amazed I'm still here to tell about it.

    Peace&Love,
    jasper
    Reply With Quote
     

  9. Collapse Details
     
    #9
    I wrote a long message about all this and it's now gone... will write tomorrow or next day. Also my does this site always log me out when I write a reply??
    Reply With Quote
     

  10. Collapse Details
     
    #10
    Moderator
    Sober Living
    The Dark Side
    aihfl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Location
    El Pueblo Loco
    Posts
    2,694
    Are you posting from a phone or a computer? Either way, you can toggle the option to stay logged in when prompted to log in next time. That should fix your problem.
    Struggling with addiction? Join us at Sober Living. We can help.
    Reply With Quote
     

  11. Collapse Details
     
    #11
    Thanks aihfl and everyone who replied. I'm quite tired right now, so I hope I can make a good reply, too bad my last one was erased, it was lengthy. I do think the Gabapentin is helping with my mood and anxiety, it is subtle, but overall I do think I've been in a better mood and a little less anxious. I'm not sure how well it is helping with my social anxiety, but I do think it has helped general anxiety and I think it has helped a bit with alcohol cravings.

    aihfl: I prefer benzo's to alcohol - I can function on benzo's, alcohol completely inebriates me, makes me lose control (to some extent), makes me feel like shit and make an ass out of myself, with or without my recollection. Benzo's don't have nearly as many side effects. Luckily, I've never woken up in piss, but I have done my fair share of stupid shit, and had blackouts, but I've never blacked out on benzos alone and done stupid shit. I take my benzo's "therapeutically" and as prescribed, because I am actually an anxious person, so I don't want to waste them and I don't care to. However, I'll be changing psych docs and I'm concerned I'll be taken off of them. I don't
    want
    to be on them, but I am scared to be off them, not only of withdrawals, but getting through life...

    cj: You are right, I am going to explore why I crave alcohol. I do think therapy might be worth a shot again too. Either way, I need to find more productive ways to deal with my stress, which I am working on... I also want to look into natural remedies, like diet, herbs, less harmful drugs, etc. And you're right, this is easier said than done, but I know I have to do it.

    I am still drinking, about the same amount, work keeps me in check a bit, I think. Alcohol makes me into a hermit and makes me lose all motivation, which is not good for me right now, but when is it ever? Anyway, that's my update.
    Reply With Quote
     

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •