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Tapering Alcohol with Alcohol

CosmicG

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I am what you would call a binge drinker. My last binge which ended about three months ago however has really changed my perspective and I have been drinking moderately, only beer, when the occasion rises. I had been drinking vodka daily for a solid three months and was up to almost a liter a day, the worst I have ever been in terms of amount. I am a small guy weighing a solid 155 pounds, but it got to the point where nobody could tell when I was drinking. My tolerance was through the roof.

I had never experienced serious alcohol withdrawal until this point. I found that if I did not wake up and begin drinking right after I ate something, my heart would begin to beat out of my chest. My vision would blur abd thoights became jumbled. The worst anxiety I have ever experienced. I thought I was going to have a heart attack. This happened in front of my girlfriend, who had no clue what I was doing behind closed doors. Not even my doctor, who thought it was odd the rise in my blood pressure and prescribed me benzos after I explained my symotoms, excluding the fact I was withdrawling from alcohol. I tried tapering but lets face it at that point in my life I had zero self control. Things are looking up most days for me now. I never could have stopped my drinking were it not for benzos and the fluke of getting one of the nastiest flus I had had in years! What a blessing that was. You can not drink alcohol when you have the flu its very unpleasant.
 

eightythree

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Aug 11, 2015
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Thanks for making this thread Phactor and I glad you a home in NA. I have been going to AA off and on now for over 6 years having had 3 relapses . My last relapse was at the end of last month and I went pretty hard with the hard liquor. It started out that I was only going to sip and always mix my drinks. From some reason I thought it would work but obviously it didn't because that's how a problem binge drinker like myself works

I switched to beer about a week ago buying 12 tall cans at a time. I planned on only drinking 6 to taper per night and have the other 6 for the shakes in the morning and before work because I work in hospitality and do a lot of service . So I ended up putting back 11 for 5 nights. Finally got smart enough to only buy 6 yesterday and drank them hourly. I also read that propranolol is often used from withdrawals instead of clonoZepam and have it for emergencies when I feel panicky. Well I woke up feeling worse than I ever felt. Has anxiety, shakes and sweats and kept waking up in 20 minute intervals with very vivid dreams. It went on from 5 am until 7 . I a, severely dehydrated as well so I went on got 12 talks cans (lol stupid risk) but I'm going to go down to 4 at most. In fact I have been sipping on my first one for an hour now. Going to get some vitamin supplements tomorrow or check them out but don't have much cash right now because I spent 2 weeks off of work. I have read that soups, vegetables and fruits are good to eat. Lemon water with some salt and herbal teas are good for rehydration.

But ur thanks for this thread and for rhos who responded . No way I was going to detox again. It's awful even with clonoZepam,
 

Squeaky

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I drank for 10 years +, about a liter a day. Got prescribed Baclofen for a back injury, and 30 days later I just lost my taste for alcohol. that was a year ago. Got off the baclofen, no cravings for booze.
I guess everyone is different and you just gotta keep trying until something sticks.
 

Squeaky

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Even luckier.... I tried getting drunk two days ago ( i needed a break from life ). I made three margaritas, total about 6 shots of tequila. I got no buzz, only a major headache and insomnia all night.
I won't do that again.
 

Badhabits

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Apr 20, 2016
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I think it is important to put numbers on average alcohol consumption daily for this method to work and for comparison to different habbits. Personally, I have been drinking 9-11 strong beers (33 cl of 5.4-6.0%) every evening beginning at 5-6 p.m. and ending typically at midnight. In the weekends I would often consume 12-15 of these strong beers starting in the afternoon. I was doing this for 5-6 years. I am 34 and normal weighing around 90 kg. The amount of alcohol amounts to an average of 150 grams (10-11 beers) a day which obviously is too much. While I still drink every night, the important first goal for me was to cut down on the amount of consumed alcohol, and consuming the first beer after 9. pm. I decreased my consumption to 6 beers or approx. 85 grams of alcohol every night. I permited my self to adapt to this pattern-change for 3 months, then cutting down again one beer to 5 beers or 70 grams of alcohol. Now I am at 4 beers or 55 grams. I still get a small buzz when drinking because the body gradually adapts to smaller amounts of alcohol. I guess if I drank 11 or 15 beers tonight I would probably vomit due to intoxication.

4 beers is okay for me also taking my body weight into account. I feel fresh in the mornings and during the day, and still get my buzz every night, although it is much smaller than previously.

So to sum up.
1. Get an overview of how much you drink and the pattern (time of opening the first beer, heavier drinking in weekends etc...)
2. Cut down drastically but realistically (6 beers worked for me as I could buy a six pack only and shops close where I live .......)
3. Change pattern by delaying e.g. from 6 pm after work to 9 pm in the evening, and allow to adapt yourself.
4. After days/weeks/months (be realistic) cut down gradually on the amount of alcohol cosumed in the delayed time frame.

While some may think that 4 beers each night is still too much, I feel normal again. Perhaps I will cut down further in the future.
 
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SergeKolpa

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May 4, 2016
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I appreciate your honesty about failing at tapering your drinking. Could you tell me if you just had alcohol problems or if your addiction had some underlining issue? How long for were you sober now?
 

Moreaux

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I allready made a thread for this but might be seen better here anyone tried declinol? For reducing cravings

I never heard of it, had to look it up. It doesn't have great reviews. I would be skeptical. They don't tell you what it is, and it falls under nutritional suppliments so it's not really regulated. Not knowing the ingredients in declinol is risky as you are a heavy drinker and may already have compromised your liver or kidneys, and declinol may not be safe, and may add more stress to them. It's expensive as well, you would be better off spending that money on seeing a doctor and getting a prescription for naltrexone pills or the shot. Vivitrol ended my cravings, I stayed on it for 8 months and have 2 years alcohol free now, and I still don't get cravings. Good luck!
 

Streetnoodle

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May 15, 2014
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Its worth mentioning that if you ask your doc for help withdrawing you may have an official diagnosis of alcoholism on your medical records. This can complicate applying for insurance or a new job.

I should say that I have no illusions about being an alcoholic. I often spend periods of weeks or months recklessly consuming, followed by a few days or a week of necessary recovery. I have put together some stints of sobriety but I have also been hospitalized and finished both inpatient and outpatient rehabs in addition to trying various medications. I'm not mentioning this for any kind of support or advice. I just wanted to share my experience with tapering and withdrawals.

In my opinion, quitting cold turkey is too dangerous to recommend. However, I understand the appeal of giving yourself an ultimatum (effectively trading less psychological burden for greater physical burden.) In my case, committing to a prolonged taper schedule rarely ends in sobriety. I would only recommend this (a plan similar to OP) if you are really confident in your motivation and ability to stop. When it comes to alcohol, addiction and dependence can be different things. Its important to be honest with yourself about your level of consumption, your reasons for consumption, and the benefits and detriments of using. I have tried quitting countless times with the most honesty and commitment I am capable of and still failed. I realize that most people on this thread are ready to stop, i just want joe binge drinker to think critically about his habits and health and limitations. Planning to stop is a good thing, it just might not be as easy as having one less beer a day.

Everyone is different. When my habit get dangerously unhealthy (one litre per day of 80-101 proof) I can usually muster the resolve to take a break. For a day or two. Maintaining that discipline for weeks on a tapering program is just not possible for me. What I found works for my body and my psyche is a one day taper. I reduce my alcohol consumption to approximately 25% for one day. Then I stop. To be exact I usually go from 1L/day to 375ml/day to zero. I am currently 15hrs into the day after my one day taper from a habit of 1L 90proof/day. I have mild cold sweats and mild nausea and mild tremors. I know from experience that I may have some auditory hallucinations tonight and I couldn't sleep if I didn't take a sleeping pill. I also know that my body will be past the worst physical symptoms tomorrow and my heart rate and blood pressure will normalize. Moderate anxiety will persist for days after though. I have successfully recovered from many serious alcohol habits in this way. To be clear I don't encourage anyone to do as I do. This is just what works best for me.

Maintaining sobriety is another issue entirely, a pandoras box I am still trying to decipher, but I hope that this information is helpful to someone.
 
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Squeaky

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Streetnoodle: check my posts about Baclofen (a muscle relaxer). I started taking it for spinal stenosis and it cured me of alcoholism. I drank about a liter a day of 80 proof for 10 years or more. I just lost my taste for alcohol one day and I found out later it was the Baclofen (10 mg x 3/day for about 4 months). I'm actually not happy about my sobriety. I was a happy responsible drunk and the alcohol was good for my back problems. I'm sober over two years now, without wanting to be, and Baclofen did it without even a single meeting or doctor's visit(except for the back surgery of course)

"Turns out I'm the same asshole, I just have fewer dents in my car..."
--- Robin Williams
 
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bluj43

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Apr 8, 2017
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It seems most of the posts regarding tapering are from those who have a long term habit and are trying to taper within a few days. This is really basically going cold turkey.
It took me over a year to work up to consuming an average of 9 beers a day. From a scientific standpoint, it should take me close to that long to taper down.

I have found it fairly easy to use this strategy. When I decided 9 or 10 beers a night was just crazy, I opted to cut back to 7. I did this for WEEKS. Then 6, then 5. I am now down to 3 beers a day because I had to let my body get used to consuming less, just like I taught my body how to consume more when I started. Yes it has been months since I started tapering, but at about the 5 beer a day mark, I already started feeling better physically. Less soreness, better sleep. Hopefully this may help someone. Just like losing weight, you have to make a lifestyle change. Crash diets seldom work.
 

Ziiirp

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Dec 18, 2011
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When I had a girlfriend I drank much less. That would be the only reason right now, to get into a relationship. Is it worth it ? I guess their juices substitute with the beer juice.
 

Squeaky

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Streetnoodle- how's it going. You back drinking again? I know hard the PAWS can be. I tried to quit many times. Usually only made it a couple of days.
 

mokele

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Mar 10, 2017
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583
Nice Thread,Thanks OP!
I am in Day 2of cold turkey from bout
7-8 l.of beer daily.going well xept nightmares
(the ones that seem real),hypernervous,etc.
Biggest Problem i cant meet friends,invite over,leave house.I would relapse immediately.My benzo dose plus
Beer=disaster and i am so sick of that!!!
I just gotta make it,but got enough meds
before,that is vital.Esp.bottle of Rivotril,supposed
to help.
 

built4speed

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Jul 31, 2017
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As the OP began years ago theres much to read here so i will be starting at the beginning of this thread, working my way through and coming back to comment. Thankfully I am currently sober but for many years was CHRONICALLY addicted to alcohol. I have put myself through the horror that is withdrawal too many times to count - a couple were done in hospital (easy but the no pain no gain method made it even easier to start drinking again for me) but the majority were done at home, alone with just me, myself and the dog. Some were cold turkey and some were tapered and some were half hearted attempts in between that succeeded in reducing my intake but ultimately resulted in even bigger binges. Ive been dry for 2 yrs now. It was a decision I resented with every fibre in my body at the time. I DIDNT want to stop drinking but I was literally knocking on the door of that place all alcoholics warn you will reach if you dont stop. That place where you have lost everything , EVERYTHING to alcohol. I was a foot and four toes through that door. I look back now and it scares the shit out of me just remembering some of the withdrawals I went through. My life has improved beyond recognition since I got sober BUT do I miss it? HELL YEAH!!! Alcohol was everything to me, as sad as that sounds. Being sober for me is like surviving a car crash and having to learn to walk again and hating every step. I know I should be grateful for being alive and I am grateful when I look at my young daughter who almost lost her mother BUT Im staying sober for her and not me. Any reason to stay sober is a good one , I get that - but life sure is DULL. If anyone wants help withdrawing from alcohol Im happy to share m experiences, numerous as they are lol
 
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Squeaky

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I really miss booze too. I never got into any trouble, but that was just dumb luck. I feel bored and aimless, like my best friend joined the Army. I drank a liter a day for ten years, and I wish I could go back to it. It's been 2 1/2 years now and I'm lonely. I have my wife and young son, but life was happier when I was drinking.
Having said all that......
I narrowly missed getting a DUI at least 500 times. I showed up still drunk in the morning to work too many times to count. Got into a couple of drunken arguments with my wife that came close to something way worse.
One more day of drinking could take from me EVERYTHING I love. So I am not going back. Not yet anyway.
 

mentor5959

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Feb 7, 2018
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It seems most of the posts regarding tapering are from those who have a long term habit and are trying to taper within a few days. This is really basically going cold turkey.
It took me over a year to work up to consuming an average of 9 beers a day. From a scientific standpoint, it should take me close to that long to taper down.

.

Is there a site with a proven taper recommendation?

Drank daily about a year and a half, I was up to 8-10 beers a day when I realized I should stop.

I cut down a lot but it seems to me whenever I go beneath 3 beers a day I have problems.
 
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