SRS Alcohol problem or not?

Discussion in 'On Topic' started by Grok1122, Apr 1, 2010.

  1. Grok1122

    Grok1122 New Member

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    Posting this here and not on the road to recovery because:

    1: I am not on said road.
    2: I am an ignorant noob.

    Here is the situation:

    I've been an insomniac all my life, it runs in my family, and has plagued me since elementary. For the past eight years of my life, so pretty much since junior year of high school, I have essentially drank myself to sleep. On average I have what probably equates to 4-8 drinks a night. Usually hard liquor, bourbon, or gin and tonic, etc... When I say I have 4-8 drinks a night, it is usually "two drinks" but we're talking about 6-12oz of alcohol (naturally over such an extended period of time it varies greatly).

    I've had a pretty good life over this same period. Did pretty well in college, got an MBA, a great job, I have a great relationship with my family, good friends, etc... There are some downsides to my life but no one is perfect. Honestly I'm pretty contented.

    I have no health problems that I am aware of (physically that is, obviously the insomnia is a sign of something). I have never shown up to work legitimately hungover. Never done anything I really regret while drinking. All in all the alcohol has never really gotten in the way of me having a good life.

    So here's the question, do I have a drinking 'problem' or not?
     
  2. erynne936

    erynne936 my av is a car, but i'm a girl. stop calling me b OT Supporter

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    Yes, drinking problem.

    Edit: Sorry, I need to elaborate. You should not need to drink every night to fall asleep. You may not see it yet but drinking every night for so many years, especially if you continue, is very likely going to have a detrimental effect on your health. One of the criteria for a diagnosis of alcohol dependence is that you have built up a tolerance - and I would say drinking 4-8 drinks a night shows you have a pretty high tolerance. I bet it does not have the same effect on you as that quantity of alcohol did at one point.
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2010
  3. teo

    teo . => ? => !

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    Yes, you have a drinking problem. You shouldn't feel compelled to drink for any reason.

    What do you do during your waking hours? What are your waking hours? Start there to find the cause of your insomnia. Common causes include poor nutrition, not enough physical activity, stress and/or anxiety, and stimulating activities in the hours before bed. You could also have a chemical imbalance. You won't know until you stop self-"medicating" and start looking for legit solutions.
     
  4. Grok1122

    Grok1122 New Member

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    Thanks for the response. I suppose I know I have a problem with alcohol I was just looking to have other people say it.

    I almost wish something in my life would 'go wrong' due to my alcohol abuse so I'd have clear motivation to stop. It's tough to want to stop when everything else in my life is good.

    Just to respond to teo, the waking hours of my life have changed a lot over the past eight years. I've had this pattern through college where it was exacerbated. These days I work a good office job, run several times a week, and I eat decently.

    I suppose I just will have to think about how to approach this more. Develop a plan. I'm nervous on breaking the pattern because the insomnia will definitely become a problem and affect my daily life negatively. And I don't really want to go to the doctor and beg for sleeping pills, that just seems like substituting one chemical for another.
     
  5. bait

    bait New Member

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    Yeah you sound like a functioning alcoholic. It will be easier to quit while things are good I promise. Waiting till you have a reason is waiting until its too late.
     
  6. ldaggerl

    ldaggerl New Member

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    Good point! Probably easier to stop now instead while you have the house, the car, the great career than when you lose it all for coming into work a hang out just a bit to many times.
     
  7. Toxica

    Toxica New Member

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    It's probably healthier to go that route though. All this drinking every night can't be good for you later on down the road.

    Also, my best friend had trouble sleeping at night so she went to the doctor for it. Her doctor suggested things to do to help her sleep and made her a list of it (she didn't just give her pills and sent her on her way lol). It wouldn't hurt to go see some help, and it might benefit you.
     
  8. Grok1122

    Grok1122 New Member

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    That's a really good take on it. I always looked at it backwards as an excuse to not do anything. But of course you are right, it will be much more difficult to deal when times are bad and the crutch is the only thing holding me up.

    Thanks for all the responses. Being honest about the fact that this is in deed a problem that needs to be dealt with feels good.

    I think I am going to start simple: start being precise in my measurement of how much I take in every night. That way I can quantify any reduction, like losing weight.

    Thanks again for the support.
     
  9. erynne936

    erynne936 my av is a car, but i'm a girl. stop calling me b OT Supporter

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    http://www.sleepeducation.com/Hygiene.aspx

    Incorporating a relaxing "bedtime routine" into your evening can be helpful. Ex: drinking herbal tea, listening to relaxing music, reading, taking a bath/warm shower, having a little snack etc. Make sure you get in some exercise during the day.

    You are used to falling asleep with the help of alcohol. It will not be easy to fall asleep without it, especially at first. Be prepared for this and don't let it cause you to go back to your old habits right away.

    I commend you for taking a look at yourself and admitting to what you have to work on within yourself. Far more than many people would ever do.
     
  10. johan

    johan Active Member

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    You're a high functioning alcoholic. Continue the alcohol, and it will impact you later in your life.

    At some point, you'll be sitting in a little white room after a battery of tests, and a doctor will walk in with a clipboard and look you in the eye.
    Right then, you'll wish you dealt with it earlier in your life.

    It doesn't make sense to replace alcohol with another substance to help you with affect regulation.
    You already mention this yourself, so you know it's just another coping mechanism.

    The best route is to develop structures within yourself, so you don't need a 40oz to "unwind", or pills, etc.



    AA, or other 12-step groups are a good way to test the waters of building up relational support structures without the spectre of "therapy".

    Drop in and check it out.
     
  11. Grok1122

    Grok1122 New Member

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    Yea this is the part I've never been able to do. I remember as far back as fourth grade giving up going to sleep after midnight and then just staying up reading or whatever. Had such a hard time getting to sleep back then I remember one incident in middle school where I had not slept much at all for several days I passed out standing up in the shower and even when I hit my head on the way down didn't wake up. I did wake up later when the hot water ran out hahaha.

    I keep no TV or computers in my bedroom, I've done well at keeping my bed a space solely for sleep. I will exercise after work, take a hot shower, read for a couple hours (not in bed). I'll feel relaxed and ready for sleep, and once I lie down I find after a couple of hours I'm still awake.

    It really is maddening.
     
  12. ldaggerl

    ldaggerl New Member

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    Ok well maybe try reading in bed so your not getting up to get ready for bed and walking over. Also have you tried keeping a fan on or something to keep a slight noise instead of dead silence. I can't sleep in dead silence at all, I'll stay awake for hours as well. With a fan on all lights off in a dark room I'm out in 5 minutes.
     
  13. seismic

    seismic New Member

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    My "aunt" (really my mom's best friend) lived your life. She drank alone, at home, after work every night.

    She died suddenly and painfully of liver failure about 4 years ago.

    Even if it's not causing problems in your social life or at work, I can assure you it will be the source of health problems in the future.

    Helping verify your problem is a good first step.
     

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