I am back

February 11, 2015

OK, sorry for the long delay. So, I drank too much over the summer, seems like I do that every year. Then, I swore I would cut it way back after Labor Day (early September for you non US people). I did cut back, but not as far as I planned. I didn’t drink every day, but didn’t always limit it to weekends either. Then came Thanksgiving and I figured what the heck, will do my usual 30 days in January and get back on track. So, I over drank during the holidays.

I never went too overboard and had no big problems, except one. I have been sick with a sinus infection and sore throat for over a year. After going to 7 different doctors, nothing improved. Making it worse, the doctors kept giving me antibiotics and prednisone, 7 times in 14 months. So, I finally realized that the combination of the drugs and the drinking had most likely fried my immune system.

2 months ago, I gave up on the traditional doctors and went to a naturopathic doctor. I did not tell her about my drinking. But, we agreed on an 8 week program that included a low acid, low histamine, non dairy diet. That, of course, meant no alcohol. I started 1/3.

I am now on my 6th week and the strange thing is that it has been very, very easy. I have stayed dry for 4 weeks every January for years, so I was just adding another 4. I actually was looking forward to it. I guess what made it easy was that I knew I needed it. The sinus infection and sore throat were affecting my work and I was tired of being sick. I have had very few cravings to drink. The other plus is that it gave me a chance to prove to my wife that I could do many weeks dry without a problem.

I feel better now, but 5+ weeks does not repair a tired immune system. I continue to make and drink bone broth and make two veggie, mostly green smoothies a day. The only down side is I have lost 10 lbs and I really needed to gain a few. I am now 6’2”, 183 lbs, my ideal weight is 195 lbs. I guess I will have fun gaining it back.

Now, I know what some of you are thinking, if it is so easy to go without booze for 8 weeks, why not just quit? Well, the answer is easy also. It is easy to go eight weeks because I know there is an end. To go forever is a little scary.

So, now I need a plan for when I restart. I don’t have one yet, but I will ease into it. My wife and I are going to dinner on my first day back which is a Saturday. The restaurant is 15 minutes away. We are seeing a comedy show after dinner. We will not be back until around 11:30. I am driving.   I won’t drive drunk; however, if we are going to be at the restaurant/club for 3 hours, I can safely have three beers.   No need to drink when I get home as I will be ready to crash. I won’t drink again until the next Saturday. My next appointment with the naturopathic doc is the following Saturday, March 7th, I don’t want to drink on Friday and have it affect my appointment.

So, there you have it. I didn’t go into too much detail about the last 6 months of the year, except to admit, I drank too much. Now it is time to start over and try again. How many times have you heard that before?

Now for my update

May 14, 2014

My drinking has been better since my last post, but still too much.  I decided to ease my way back into acceptable levels of moderation.  I had slipped in two ways, by not counting drinks, and by drinking occasionally on week nights (Mon-Thurs).  I decided to tackle the week nights first and that has been a success.  I must say that it was tougher than a couple of  years ago when I rarely even thought about alcohol during the week. This took a little more work. But, I feel great Tues through Friday.  Monday is a problem as I am feeling the effects of drinking without counting drinks on Fri, Sat and Sun.  I now need to tackle Sundays.  If you read my last post, that is where the Kratom might be able to help.

So, in summary, I am still struggling with the moderation.  I really need to get back to where I was for quite a while: only drinking 3 days a week with a max of 15 drinks per week. Geez, it once seemed so easy.  And, I know what many of you are thinking, it was only a matter of time.  Well, maybe, but for now, being able to drink is still worth the effort I have to put into it.

Kratom anyone?

May 14, 2014

I recently posted to see if anyone had any experience with Naltrexone to help control drinking urges.  As was pointed out to me in the comments, I have finally decided that it would be a bad idea.  Taking a drug for the rest o my life to control drinking is not a good solution.

Someone else commented that I should try Kratom. I have never heard of it, but after doing some research, I thought it was worth a shot. See below for description.  I have now taken it about 4 times and the jury is still out.  I think it might have some value, but have not quite figured out what that is yet.  I have figured out how NOT to use it. 

Last night was a week night (work night) and as usual my plan was not to drink.  However, I did have an urge, so I decided to take some Kratom.  I took what is considered a low dose. About 7 grams.  I did like the feeling. It made me feel good and gave me a tiny buzz. What I did not like is the stimulant part of it.  It is clearly stated below that it is s stimulant in low doses, but it was more than I would have liked. 

I normally go to bed around 10pm and sleep until around 5am. I did go to bed at 10pm last night but did not get to sleep until around 1:30am and even then, never slept for more than a half hour straight.  I took the Kratum at 6pm, so the stimulant effects lasted more than 8 hours.  I got out of bed at 6:30am exhausted and with the feeling of a mild hangover.  This same thing happened one of the other times I took it.  The other two times I took it I used it to delay drinking on a weekend. So, I ended up drinking a few hours later making it difficult to gauge the full long term effects.  I am not sure if the hangover part was because of lack of sleep or some after effect of the herb.

I think the next time I will try a higher dose, but it will have to be on a day when I don’t work the next day.  The cost, by the way, is not that much if used occasionally.  There are different types of kratom, but the average is about $15 per ounce (28 grams).  If you take half, 14 grams, it is only $7.50, cheaper than drinking.

If anyone else has tried it, I would love to hear what your thoughts are.

What is kratom ?

Kratom is a tree native to Southeast Asia (Thailand, Malaysia and Myanmar). Its botanical name is Mitragyna speciosa. The leaves of kratom have been used as an herbal drug from time immemorial by tribes of Southeast Asia. It is used as a stimulant (in low doses), sedative (in high doses), recreational drug, pain killer, medicine for diarrhea, and treatment for opiate addiction.

 

Between Drinks: Escape The Routine

May 14, 2014

This comment was posted recently and I thought I would share in hopes it could help someone:

 

Hello,

I thought the readers of your blog might be interested in my new book on giving up drinking for a while. It is called Between Drinks: Escape The Routine, Take Control and Join The Clear Thinkers, and the amazon link is http://www.amazon.com//dp/B00GFYH2H4.

The book will be FREE for download on Amazon on 14 May 2014 only. No catches.

You can read more about me and the book at http://www.betweendrinksblog.com. This includes testimonials from people who found it useful.

Thanks for considering and I hope it helps a reader of your blog.

Any questions please let me know – I’d enjoy hearing from you.

Thanks again.

Regards
David Downie

http://www.betweendrinksblog.com/

Naltrexone?

March 31, 2014

When I don’t post for a while, it is usually a sign that things are not going well. And, I must be honest and say that my drinking has slowly increased and I now find myself in dangerous territory.

When I first started with Moderation Management (moderation.org), my goal was 15 drinks a week max and only drink on 3 days. And, it was so easy I couldn’t believe it was once so hard. However, I worked at it. I participated in the MM forum and I posted my daily drinks on something they call an abstar log.

Well, over time, I got comfortable. I stopped actively participating in the program and stopped counting drinks. I have never thought that someone with drinking issues of my level can ever be cured. If I choose the route of continuing to drink vs. abstinence, it will take effort.   Of course, abstinence also takes effort.

I am curious. Has anyone had any experience with drug Naltrexone? It can come in a pill form, injection or even an implant. It can be used with counseling with a goal of abstinence; however, I am more interested in using it to limit drinking. Many believe that it is more effective than abstinence since the percentage of relapsers in abstinence programs is so high. And, when people relapse, they often drink more than when they quit. So, if one can learn to moderate with the use of programs like MM, or a drug, or both, it can be a better solution.

Note, I am not delusional here, I am exploring the moderation options because I don’t want to quit drinking permanently. Although, I have never ruled out that option if I feel I have no other choice.

Anyway, my goal for this week is back to basics.

Almost done with 4 weeks dry

January 31, 2014

So, today is the last day of my 28 days dry.  Good news is that it was very easy.  I thought it would be and hoped it would be, but  there was a little concern.  I knew if I didn’t make it, I would be in trouble for sure.  But, not only did I make it, it was even easier than I thought it would be.  I only remember being slightly tempted once.  That was when I went to pick up my daugher at a play date.  There was a few other girls there and the parents who came to pick up were all drinking wine with the hosts as they waited for our kids to finish up.  They offered me a glass several times, and each time I declined, but I did want one.

Now the bad news.  I still don’t have a plan going forward.  I am not worried about it this weekend, but will be next.  Tonight I have to stay dry to finish up the 28 days. So, right there I am off to a good start for the weekend.   This is my daughter’s 9th birthday weekend and we have a busy schedule.  Tomorrow night she has 4 friends sleeping over and I am taking them all with my wife out to dinner.  I will not drink before getting to the restaurant and expect I will have one beer or glass of wine with dinner. There is no way I am going to get pulled over for a DWI with a bunch of kids in the car.  I can have a couple more when I get home.  On Sunday, we have 14 girls coming over for her official bday party from 12:30 to 3:30.  Then she has basketball practice from 3:45 to 4:45.  I am one of the coaches.  So, there is no way I will have even one drink before practice.

Then, we have the super bowl where I will head to my cousins to watch the game.  Sunday is a work night. So, between the kids over Saturday night, not beginning drinking until 6ish on Sunday, there is no way I will go over my 15 drink a week limit this weekend.  So, I have another week to figure out a plan for the rest of the year.  I will not drink Mon-Thu nights unless it is a special occassion as I already know I am joining my basketball buddies for a couple of beers on Thurs evening 2/13.  Otherwise, it is back to dry during the work week.

After 27 days dry, I do fell pretty good, excpet that I have had laryngitis for 2 months now.  I presumed it was from the December drinking and  maybe it was, but 4 weeks dry hasn’t helped.  Maybe some wine will.  That is all for now. 

I’m back

January 17, 2014

Firs tof all, sorry for disappearing for so long and I appreciate the comments checking on me.   Many have commented on how much work moderating and counting drinks can be, and I have agreed.  Well, it finally caught up with me. I decided to take a break from counting and just drink as I wanted and you won’t be surprised that my drinking slowly crept up.  First I said I would slow down after Labor Day, then came Thanksgiving and finally I sadi fu*k it, I might as well just start moderating in January.  Overall, although I went over my 15 drink a week limit pretty much every week, I was still far from the amounts I drank before going into detox.  However, over the Christmas Holiday, knowing that I would be sober 4 weeks in January, I just gave up and drank back at the old, very dangerous levels.

On a positive note, I suffered no real problems other than my work productivity going down a bit and getting sick in December which I am sure is the result of a compromised immune system. Towards the end of January, I was actually looking forward to Jan 4th which was my chosen go sober day. In the past, years past, I feared not drinking for a day let alone 4 weeks. This time I was really looking forward to it.  I had only a couple of drinks on the 2nd and 3rd to level off slowly and have not had any drinks since the 4th.  I will stay sober until Feb 1st which will be 4 weeks. Notice I didn’t say try and stay sober, I will and I think it will be kind of easy, at least the first 13 days have been.

At this point I have no idea what I am going to do when I get back.  I may go back to the old 15 drinks a week, with at least 3 sober days or something else. I  may also have to get back involved with moderation.org which I have promoted to many of you in the comments by drifted away from myself.

Well, that is all for now. Work is very busy and it is amazing how much more work I can get in in a day with a clear mind.

Happy New Year to all !!!!!

Back to the old plan

July 9, 2013

Sorry for the long break.  I have been slipping slowly and keep hoping for a rebound before I post.  It hasn’t come yet.

I knew my plan to stop counting drinks and limit myself to 1.75 ltr vodka a month was risky and it didn’t work.  I mostly kept to the 1.75 bottle, but found it is too easy to guzzle wine.   I slipped to the point where I would buy two orders of wine at the liquor store, one that I would share with my wife and cheap $6 bottles I would hide and drink by myself.  Not a good plan.  I would actually have been better off drinking more vodka as there is not much worse than a hangover from cheap wine.

It wasn’t all bad, certainly not as bad as before I went into AA.  Some weeks were worse than others, but last week was the clincher with a holiday falling on a Thursday.  That gave me an opportunity to drink for 4 straight days and I paid for it on Monday.

Some will say it was only a matter of time, I would eventually fall back into my own ways.  I prefer to think that things mostly went well when I limited myself to 15 drinks a week and only on weekends.  I ruined it with the unlimited beer and wine plan.  I am going back to the old plan.  If I struggle with it, I may have to go dry 30 days to get level headed again.  I sure don’t want to do that in the summer.

Another downside to the drinking is that my self-diagnosed Trichotillomania has gotten worse.  I think I probably mentioned it in an earlier post, but I have this compulsive tendency to rub my left eyebrow so much there is a hole in it.  I have to believe this  is alcohol related.

Trichotillomania is an irresistible urge to pull out hair from the scalp, eyebrows or other areas of one’s body. Hair pulling from the scalp often leaves patchy bald spots, which people with trichotillomania may go to great lengths to disguise.[1] People often start compulsive hair-pulling around the early teenage years, though some people start earlier or later than this.

Might have to go back to the old drinking plan

May 2, 2013

I’m so far behind in my posts, I am not even sure what to report or where to start.  Most importantly, my new game of allowing myself as much beer and wine as I want, might have to go bye bye.  My plan was to limit myself to one 1.75 liter bottle of vodka each month but as much beer and wine as I want.  The thinking was that I just don’t drink that much beer and wine and since it is not something I do in hiding, I would hopefully be OK.

Well, I can honestly admit that my wine consumption has gone up considerably since I started this plan.  I have even gone to the basement at times to swig from a double bottle of wine.  On the other hand, I can also honestly state that I have had no bouts of drunkenness and have never gone too far over any reasonable limit.  On the other hand, while I know longer know how much I am drinking weekly, I do know that it is too much.

I did go out and by another 1.75 liter of vodka last weekend, the last of April, rather than waiting until May for my next bottle.  However, as bad as that may seem, I am not worried about it as I am confident that bottle will take me through May.  The good news is that I bought it on Friday 4/26 and have only drunk about 4 oz of it so far.

I am going to wait until after this weekend before reworking my drinking plan.  I have a 50th bday party to attend this Friday and I can walk home from the bar.  And, on Saturday is my daughter’s first communion and we are having a big party for that.  On that day, I will have to drive home, so my drinking will be limited anyway.

So, next week I will come up with a new plan.  I suspect it will be back to the 15 drinks a week.  That worked pretty well for the most part.

Obsessing about alcohol

March 28, 2013

I did not post after last weekend as I did not have much to say.  I can say the same about last weekend.

And, that is a good thing.  Someone posted a comment about obsessing about alcohol and it really brought me back to my dark days.  It seemed like thoughts around alcohol consumed most of my day.  Start the morning with a hangover, stress over whether I can get through a day without drinking for a change, oh shit, that won’t work, can I go without vodka and stick to wine and/or beer, maybe just a ½ pint or pint of vodka, will my wife know I am drinking, where can I hide it, what is going on tomorrow that a hangover can screw up, what are others drinking, who is watching me, should I get help ….. Shit, it never stopped.

I can say today, that while I still think about alcohol often, it is much less than those dark days.  For instance, since I rarely drink Mon-Thurs, I rarely think about alcohol on those days.  On the weekends I do, but since my drinking is much more in control than it used to be, it is much better.

Since March was a 5 weekend month, I knew it would be a little tough to get by on a 1.75 liter bottle of vodka. And, I did run out with a weekend to go.  I had a little left over after last weekend; however, I had a tooth pulled Monday morning and finished it Monday night to ease the pain a bit.

My plan is to go the weekend without vodka.  However, I have not completely ruled out the idea of buying April’s bottle a little early.  My rationale is that this bottle would still have to last until May 1.  So, it is not like I am buying and drinking more, it is the same.  Instead of making one bottle last for 5 weekends and another for 4, I am just averaging it out.  There I go thinking about alcohol again ….