Self medicating via alcohol

Am I the only sinner on this site who turns to alcohol to self medicate. I've been to CDAS who tell me they don't deal with people like me cos I don't drink enough, and I'm a social drinker ( even though I drink alone behind closed doors). I'm seeing a counsellor at the moment and keeping a drink diary. It's been interesting. I got a diary from drink aware to fill in for the month and scored 23 within recommended guidelines for the month but on the 6 days I did drink was well over.

On reviewing the pattern only drunk after a bad day at work. Now need to change this pattern somehow.!

I thought I'd share this.. Might be helpful to others maybe not.

15 Replies

  • Hi there I think a lot of people unwind with a glass of wine or a beer at the end of a difficult day at work but yes you are right if it is going well beyond those levels then you have a problem but you are being very responsible in addressing it and seem to have worked out the cause.

    Maybe have a look at mindfulness meditation as an alternative if you are the quiet type, or as you put in another post go to the gym straight after work; make it so you don't get home until a time where there is no point in you having a drink as it is time to go to bed with a cocoa and a book :)

    I think anything that takes up your time beyond the "danger " point (I'm guessing you would start drinking pretty much as soon as you get home) could possibly work. Maybe join a running club a boxing club karate, judo or tai chi chuan or go for a bike ride something physical would probably be best.

    Let us know how you get on.

    Gemma X

  • Gemma,

    Thank you so much for getting back. I do realise that binge drinking has become a problem for me and a bad coping mechanism. Probably just trying to block everything out and not have to deal or think about things. It's affecting my work and I do need to address it, I'm seeing a counsellor hence the diary. Although im not alcohol dependent and don't need to drink everyday, I know it's a slippery slope. It's proving a hard habit to break though. I am going to sign up for the gym and try :)

  • Hi there I would say you are not the only sinner here. But your

    Drinking seems more than a harmless glass of wine. Get help

    For it before it becomes another problem. How about trying

    A.A. I don't drink myself as drink is a depressant and I want to

    Avoid feeling Depressed

    I'm sure there are lots of Forums or groups for Alcohol Problems,

    As its very common. It's good that you see that it could get

    To be a real problem. Sorry I can't be of more help to you on

    This one. Take care and look after your health.

    Hannah x

  • Hi, I am just new to this site.

    I never used to drink much, probably a couple of glasses of wine a couple of times a month. But I have had quite bad spells where I have drunk to excess at times. I did it to try and forget my problems, but the stupid thing is that I still remembered what I did in the morning. The only thing the alcohol did was make my problems worse and I am mean really worse. I had one really bad spell where I drunk half a bottle of whiskey and I'm not talking about one of the small bottles either. I don't even like whiskey and all that happened was I ended up feeling so low that I had thoughts about self-harming. Thankfully I didn't do anything stupid and now I don't drink and there is no alcohol kept in the house.

    Glad to hear you've recognised the problem and are dealing with it. Glad you have someone to help you through this and that you can see the pattern of bad days at work causing you to drink.

    I wish you well with finding alternatives to the alcohol to deal with your bad days.

  • Thank you I'm glad im not the only one lol. Hope your doing ok xx

  • Hi it's very common to turn to alcohol to self medicate. A lot of people do it even though it is a depressant. x

  • Hi - Social drinking is difficult to control at times - turn on the telly and somebody is having a drink? --- my advice change your job? must be stressful - I was once told by a old boss that every body in the office I worked could not function when they got home without a drink? I was shocked and young at the time and did not understand him - although I do now. Your not on that island alone take care and be kind and careful to yourself.

  • Hi Obriens3,

    No, you are not the only one. I used to drive a semi truck for most of my 20's but I would self medicate very hard with it when coming off the road. I've had blackouts from too much and too strong of alcohol but I was laughed at when they understood the amount of consumption.

    So the first lesson I learned here is that people and their judgement are awful. You know how you feel more than anyone else, and if you are feeling that there is a problem, there usually is. Don't listen to the naysayers. Instead, investigate yourself.

    Second lesson is very important, don't stop talking on here. Communication and understanding of the situation you are going through is very very important and can leave a person helpless if they do not reach out to someone who will understand them. Believe me, no matter how tough people think they are... the human body is fragile and sooner or later will fail and if you don't reach out for support now, you'll end up in more pain later. I am there so I know this, sadly. So this step that you are doing right now is tough, but awesome because most people do not get past this! You should pat yourself on the back for coming forward. Most people don't get this far!

    Third, is to abuse a substance. I am very guilty of this. Having no support system is the fastest way to start seeking pain release. And the body stress and pain kicks in, and you just NEED that drink to deal with it. Then the body gets used to that amount and you need more. I am used to this kind of life. I hate it! But I had to come to terms that the alcohol was indeed a problem and a very serious one. When I tried to quit, I always fell off the bandwagon as they say. It took two ulcers in my stomach and a few years of extreme discomfort before I learned that alcohol naturally increases the stomach acid and you will have serious problems if I kept drinking. It wasn't much but it was enough to feel like it was killing me. And it was. I was diagnosed with extreme hypo-thyroid problems (hereditary from my father) around the same time, and life became hell. Just trying to get out of bed in pain in the morning became something that made me angry at God for being alive.

    The bottom line is with alcohol; Get away from it before it kills you. It is not an instant death, rather a slow burn. Every time I drank I ended up hurting continually worse every time I woke up, to the point I no longer wanted to live. A guy once told me that Jack Daniels would give me "gut rot", and I didn't understand that so I thought he was crazy. A decade later and I have some of the meanest acid reflux a man could imagine. With the thyroid issue, I thought I was dying of cancer or something, it was just that bad! Then it was total insult to injury when I was mocked for being weak or they thought I was on drugs because my skin turned grey. People are so cruel! Completely misplaced judgement is all they offered.

    And thanks to my lousy health, I am still there. My thyroid problem has an inherent nightmare; it delivers massive heartbreaking depression with suicidal thoughts. Most people don't get there so about 95% of the world doesn't understand. They don't want to hear it. But we do, because we understand you to a certain point of course. No one completely knows how you feel and they should never say they do. But having such problems as depression or substance abuse, one realizes that strength is not the answer. The body will wear out, just when of course? So the answer lies in tolerance and living in pain without the crutch of a mind altering substance such as alcohol or other drugs.

    This horrible situation may not be yours. But it will be if you abuse your body too much. Dear friend, I am not here to judge you. I'm pretty messed up myself so I shouldn't talk. But don't regret not taking action now. It doesn't have to be sudden and it takes time, but you should think it over and weigh out what you might loose in the long run. But whatever you do, don't stop talking on here. It really helps. Hope you find relief!

  • I really empathise with this post. I do exactly the same and, even though I know it's self destructive, I keep on doing it. Bad day at work = pub instead of gym. I know it's a bad idea but I do it anyway and my partner doesn't help as he's the same. Breaking this habit is hard but I know I need to do it.

  • Hi Obrien

    If you are using alcohol to self-medicate there are other things less damaging you can use. Exercise, meditation, eating, sex all are used by people to relieve stress and help them cope. None of them are good for you in excess (sex is bad if used only for selfish reasons) but wont kill you as quickly as alcohol. I think we all know alcoholism is a serious and dangerous illness and must be tackled as early as possible.

    In your diary, do you note down anything except how much you drink? Such as problems at work, the weather, arguments with your partner etc? Analysing patterns can help pinpoint the problem. Therapy can help if the issue is related to something you might have buried in your past, or don't recognise as a problem, such as ongoing abuse (maybe from a coworker or manager or your partner) you have become used to and see as 'normal'.

    I hope you find out what is at the root of the problem soon and find a better way of life. Hopefully you will also be able to find a better relationship with alcohol too.

  • umm I dont know what your tipple is but could you drink something with less strength, so if you're a whiskey drinker, turn to a less potent cider or something. Or if you are a wine drinker get into making spritizers, at least when you're at home. Perhaps wean yourself down? Just a thought.

    Good Luck x

  • I know that this can be a problem. My son is having a terrible time at work, bullying, and is drinking far too much. Once he gets rid of the problem he will cut down on his drinking but it is like catch 22

  • When I gave up smoking it was made a lot easier by avoiding the places I used to smoke, and taking up going to the gym. Since you tend to reach for a drink when home alone, try going out to the movies, the gym, dance classes or even the pub. Drink is more expensive in a pub so you will probably think harder about ordering the next one. One also tends to drink less when talking, so make it a rule to talk to at least one other person each time you go out.

  • No your not the only sinner. I used to do this. However drink is a temporary fix. Since I have stopped I find that I don't have down days and feel more positive. It's hard to get out of the habit I know.

  • I would just like to say thank you to everyone who responded to my post, I've been a bit out of sorts so sorry I have not replied individually. I'm taking some of the suggestions to keep myself otherwise occupied on board, have just signed up for the gym again as a starting point and started to make plans to go out to the cinema etc. mid week with friends (mid week is usually the worst, too much time on my own in the evenings). It was good to have the reassurance that other people have had similar problems and overcome them. Thank you :)

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