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 Post subject: Wolfie's progress and thoughts...
PostPosted: Sat Dec 12, 2015 11:23 am 
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Joined: Wed Dec 09, 2015 4:52 pm
Posts: 35
Hi folks,

New guy here. 39, male. Married, no kids.

Just started on TSM a week ago, and wanted to log my story, so here goes...

I feel a bit unique from reading other posts on this forum. I've never tried to quit before. Never day-drank, hid consumption, lost a job or had anyone tell me to stop or reduce. I've been very lucky in life. No trauma or childhood issues. I just loved to drink. And it recently dawned on me how much drinking was ruling my life. I'm sick of medium-sized hangovers, and really sick of the occasional epic 2-day hangover. I see a clear path of usage and where this is headed. Once I get going, it's hard if not impossible to slow down. I have an extremely social lifestyle and my wife is connected to the restaurant/food-service/bar industry. So we're out all the time, meeting friends for drinks or dinners or parties/gatherings.

My dad stopped drinking in his early 30s due to overconsumption, so alcoholism runs in the family.

In the past few years drinking has really started to creep up on me. Many late night fests. Topping off at parties. Pre-drinking before meeting friends out. A few embarrassing scenarios. I was the guy who drank waaaay faster than everyone else. I get extremely riled up in social drinking situations, and the fun parade begins. I never wanted to go home or end the night and always encouraged buddies to stay up and party. Poker + drinking has often led to major issues, and many late nights and epic hangovers. I've had some anxiety issues in the past decade (several panic attacks and lots of sporadic daily anxiety over the years) and even some bouts of mild depression. I realize now this is probably entirely due to alcohol consumption.

It's hard to sum up my drinking patterns pre-TSM, as I'm all over the board.
Lots and lots of 4-8 unit nights
Sporadic "light" 1-2 unit nights 5 days a month
Maybe 1-4 AF nights a month
Also 1-5 BIG nights a month with 10+ drinks
And the occasional EPIC night, 15+, maybe once every other month
So 30-50 units per week on average? Who knows...

But most days I have a hangover of some kind and this pattern has affected my motivation, happiness, weight, sex-life, health, family relations, money, and general engagement in life. I realize I love the rush of drinking more than the act of consuming booze. That rush is something I'm happy to remove as it's the thief of all the thing in the list above that I love more.

I recently got into mindfulness and meditation. It has allowed me to really see how clearly this is becoming a problem. First, I noticed how trapped in my own thoughts I was, and I quickly made tremendous progress seeing how I was a prisoner of my own mind, acting out each idea my monkey-mind pumped out. As I began to see thoughts as options, and how not to just own the next thought that popped into my head, I totally reinvented my life. I dropped many negative-thinking habits, became more patient, more optimistic, and was more thoughtful of others, etc. Reorganized my entire house, became a better friend, and cut way down on TV. But drinking remained, and "the stains on the washcloth became more clear as the cloth was cleaned." I quickly realized this had to change - as I was on a path of having to try and quit eventually or manage my drinking-- which seemed impossible a few weeks ago.

But it's weird-- no one (including my wife) seems to see it. I honestly feel pretty isolated. Maybe I hide it well, or have a lifestyle that allows me to function OK while drinking a ton. I work for myself and have had a pretty successful career so far. But it's allowed me to see how mindlessly I drink. How the feeling of pure euphoria and drink-chasing rules my evenings. Often never able to get enough. At bars and restaurants I constantly scan for my next drink, missing being in the moment.

So a month ago, I got some books and got a therapist. Quickly discovering the new thinking for treating addiction can include medication as an option. I never subscribed to the "disease" theory of alcoholism. I always thought it was a willpower game, and I sucked at choices. But that quickly changed when I learned that some people's brains are simply wired up differently. I get a huge rush of endorphins when I drink (or play poker) that others do not. My reward center in my brain was continually sending signals to get drinks in me to satisfy that relentless need for more happy-feelings. And that can never be satisfied. I pay the price with social embarrassment and hangovers.

So when I read about these medications I went down a rabbit hole of research, which landed me here to The Sinclair Method. Makes perfect sense. You retrain the mind to not get the rush from alcohol. Then you crave less, and hopefully eventually become indifferent. That's exactly what I want.
We treat people with medication whose brains don't deliver enough insulin... or have seizures. Why not the same for such a common problem like alcohol addiction? After 2 days of reading a ton, and finding this forum I was sold.

I was also reading a lot of traditional methods to curb or stop drinking which, having started Naltrexone, now seem insane. The thought of white-knuckling or trying to stop on my own seems like a recipe for failure. Plus Sinclair shows that the longer an addict goes without their drug, the more cravings will increase. No way my conscious thinking mind can compete with my "more-drinks-monster" mind. AA seems like a nightmare. Plus very low statistical success rates. I've been reading tons of forums (like reddit.com/r/stopdrinking ) with consistent failures, set backs and disappointments. All huddled together, hoping against hope they don't succumb to their continually growing cravings. No thanks.

I got a script from my doc (surprised it was easy) and started 1 week ago. I'll give a summary of the week in my next post.

Wish me luck!


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 Post subject: Re: Wolfie's progress and thoughts...
PostPosted: Sat Dec 12, 2015 12:11 pm 
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Joined: Tue Dec 01, 2015 3:30 am
Posts: 17
Location: Melbourne, Australia
I recognise much of what you say.
Dad died of alcohol in his early 50s.
Three subsequent partners thought that I drank a bit much but never felt it was serious, even after I told them of my concerns.

You're on to a good thing; TSM works.

Good luck.

_________________
Cheers,

Skippy


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 Post subject: Re: Wolfie's progress and thoughts...
PostPosted: Sat Dec 12, 2015 4:11 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jul 15, 2015 9:35 pm
Posts: 1429
Welcome Wolfie,

I can relate a lot to what your are posting, for I realized in my late 30's I had a problem and now in my 50's I am doing something about it. You are heading down the right path. I have been sober a few times only to have alcohol deprivation set in and I would drink more than before.

Consider yourself a lucky duck for finding TSM at a younger age. You have the chance to fix something before it is completely broken.

I want to warn you that the book simplifies the process and it may take you longer than 3 months. Most start seeing results between 6-9 months and some it has taken a year or more. But this process does work.

Is your therapist open to the idea of TSM, or are you not discussing it in therapy...or are you no longer see a therapist? I am asking for if this therapist is open to TSM, it would be nice to add a doctor to the list. There are so few of them out there.

I look forward to reading your progress and you have all the luck you could possibly need, for this is truly the way out!

Jaba


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 Post subject: Re: Wolfie's progress and thoughts...
PostPosted: Sat Dec 12, 2015 5:21 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jul 24, 2015 6:49 am
Posts: 118
Wolfie,
welcome to the forum! You did all the right steps and It is great to hear that you are also doing meditation. I think this will help you to change the habits, too. Nal is great help, but one needs to drink more mindfully in general to see results.
Nal on!

_________________
pre TSM 40-50 UK U
TSM start 17.7. 2015

M 1, 19 U avg, 8 AF per month
M 2, 24 U, 5 AF
M 3, 20 U, 11 AF
M 4, 28,5 U, 2 AF
M 5, 21 U, 9 AF
M 6, 27 U, 2 AF
M 7, 27,5 U, 1 AF
M 8, 30 U, 2 AF
M 9, 20 U, 8 AF
M 10, 20 U, 5 AF
M 11, 25 U, 1 AF


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 Post subject: Re: Wolfie's progress and thoughts...
PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2015 8:14 am 
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Joined: Tue Dec 01, 2015 3:30 am
Posts: 17
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Wolfie,

Just a word of advice:

ALWAYS comply to taking the Naltrexone before you drink.

If you fail compliance now and again, you may be learning through a random reinforcement schedule, which is harder to undo than consistent reinforcement.

Consistent compliance seems very important and is cheap :)

I wouldn't worry too much about taking a pill and not drinkng.
You may have wasted a pill and an extinction opportunity but it doesn't hurt the progress already made.

Good luck.

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Cheers,

Skippy


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 Post subject: Re: Wolfie's progress and thoughts...
PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2015 8:17 am 
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Joined: Wed Dec 09, 2015 4:52 pm
Posts: 35
Week 1

Holy ****.

This stuff seems to work on me.

Quick summary:
Using The Sinclair Method seems to have instantly cut my drinking down by half. A few side effects and 1 bad nal-over. Took .25mg (half a pill) for first week. The feeling of drinking on naltrexone is strange, new and a bit hard to describe -- and I'm sure I will be writing more about that sensation. But it's definitely like something is missing, and the rush is gone from my drinking. I am amazed how my brain seems to have quickly adapted in this first week... and become so much less interested in getting a "next drink." I'm aware this all may be placebo... or wishful thinking or what's called "the honeymoon period" but I am optimistic and encouraged here at the start.

Day 1
Got my nal from the doc, and took a half pill 1 hour before drinking. Started a 60-minute timer on my phone with Siri (which has now become a ritual.) Started cooking dinner home alone and chilled out. I had picked up my favorite beer and gotten is nice and cold. After an hour, I popped a beer and sat with it, noticing the sensations of cravings, smell and anticipation for a full minute. Took a sip and focused on perceptions. Was it different? It tasted the same. Not sure, so I set it down and went about other things.

A full 15 minutes went by and the beer remained untouched. This had never happened before. Usually the first beer was gone within 10 minutes or so. My wife was working late, so I started dinner solo. At the first bite of roast chicken my stomach instantly became queazy. Gurgling stomach with minor pain for about 4 minutes. I had eaten the pill on an empty stomach and now realize folks recommend eating a some food with it. After a bit the stomach discomfort went away (this has since been the one and only instance of stomach pains on the meds.)

I got through the beer and eventually had a 2/3 of a glass of red wine, but quickly lost interest. This would have been a normal 4-5 unit night. Happy to have only had 2!

Day 2
Same routine, 1 beer and 1 glass of wine. The urge to reach for the drink seems to have vanished and I'm enjoying small sips with food. Taste is still there and I'm enjoying consuming (especially the wine with dinner) but the planning of next drink and that "I need to get a few more of these in me" feeling is gone. Wondering If I'm acting out what I'm hoping will happen or just experiencing placebo.

Day 3
Big Night! College Basketball, out with friends. This would usually be a big drinking night with buddies. But instead of 12-15 beers, I had about 6. I was really just drinking out of habit. Out at the crowded sports bar, I was totally in-the-moment. Wasn't scanning for drinks or worried about my empty glass. In fact, I felt very sober, when all of a sudden I turned my head and realized it wasn't turning as fast as I wanted it to! I was feeling the effects of drunkenness but my mind was totally different that it normally gets. I was calm, happy and was actually listening to my friends as we chatted. I realized that I was getting pretty tipsy, seemingly way quicker than normal. But really feeling the effects of drunkenness without that mind rush/manic thing. I also noticed how drunk a couple of my friends were acting. So I actually decided I'd had enough and pull the ejector seat and pealed out. Got home at 11:15pm (which is unheard of) and my wife was watching TV. I said I felt drunk and told her about the evening, and she said I seemed really lucid and didn't have the "googley eyes" I normally do after drinking. Weird. Also noticed that I would usually either be downing another home drink at this point, or scurrying off to bed to avoid drinking and hope to fall asleep. Instead I watched TV for a while and wound down on the couch with a water.

So the next day I felt OK when I got up and made coffee. A little headachy and lethargic, but at about 10AM a MAJOR hangover kicked in. I felt sick and had a massive pounding migraine. It lasted about 5 hours. Very odd after only 6-7 beers, but realized nal can give you a serious hangover.

The next four nights included a date night at a nice restaurant, a Sharon Jones concert, night at home, and afternoon of corn hole with some bros. All would have normally been 6-10+ drink sessions, but each day I had only 3-4!

I've noticed my face can sometimes feel flushed after 2 drinks on nal. And my ears sometimes itch and eyes can get dry. Other than that, no major side effects, but that nal-over has me a bit worried. Definitely don't want that again, so will have to find my new limits.

I feel so rejuvenated. So optimistic and hopeful. I've worked out 3 times this week. I love not worrying about drinking so much and hope this continues. Yesterday a friend mentioned a New Year's Day brunch, and normally I would make up some excuse knowing I'd likely be too hungover to attend. But I actually think I'll have no problem on NYE and attending a social brunch the next day if I take my pill and stick to >6 drinks. We'll see...


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 Post subject: Re: Wolfie's progress and thoughts...
PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2015 2:43 pm 
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Joined: Tue Dec 01, 2015 3:30 am
Posts: 17
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Wolfie,

That's great.
Just remember; it may not always go so well. Many people start off well and them slide back a little bit. Or maybe it goes well for you right from the start.

The fact that you can see it having this effect on you now, means you can get it done.
Just stick with it and comply and check in to this forum for support.

Good luck!

PS.: the effect is not due to placebo: experiences may vary but you are taking the actual medication.

_________________
Cheers,

Skippy


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 Post subject: Re: Wolfie's progress and thoughts...
PostPosted: Wed Dec 16, 2015 10:48 am 
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Joined: Thu May 28, 2015 1:37 pm
Posts: 353
Sounds great wolf! I can very much relate to what your life style was. I was able to hide my drinking very well. It started getting worse, as it always does, but for the most part I was the only one who knew how much drinking I did and was able to hide it really well. I responded instantly to TSM as you are now, no honeymoon period or anything. The first dose of Naltrexone I took cut the chase out and that was it. After that it was almost like it just was over. I still drink but no longer have any concerns about the next drink, no longer have to plan for it, no longer dwell on it and so on. I don't even know how many beers I have in the fridge, something I was keenly aware of prior to TSM.

Good luck, hopefully this instant response you are having will last for ever but if not don't sweat it, it's very common to go back to previous TSM levels before rebounding.


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 Post subject: Re: Wolfie's progress and thoughts...
PostPosted: Wed Dec 16, 2015 6:11 pm 
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Joined: Mon Sep 14, 2015 3:58 pm
Posts: 208
Location: Minnesota
Welcome Wolfie! It sounds like you're off to a phenomenal start! You may be one of the fortunate ones (like Ocean!) who experience immediate results and don't suffer any setbacks. Or you may be one of those who have an amazing honeymoon period, but backslide a bit. At least you're not like me who, until very recently (and am not even sure it's "real" yet), doesn't experience much at all by way of changes several weeks/months into it. My point is that this is a truly individual experience.... you've found a great place for support and information! Looking forward to reading about your progress! Keep on keeping on!

MinneMom

_________________
Started TSM 9/25/15
pre TSM 25-30ish/week and rare AF - standard US drinks

MONTH 1: 25 wk/ .5 AF avg
MONTH 2: 20 wk/ 1 AF avg
MONTH 3: 21.5 wk/ .75 AF avg
Week 13: 21.5/0 AF
Week 14: 25/0 AF
Day 1: 1.5
Day 2: 4
Day 3: .5


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 Post subject: Re: Wolfie's progress and thoughts...
PostPosted: Wed Dec 16, 2015 7:42 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jul 15, 2015 9:35 pm
Posts: 1429
Wolfie,

It sounds like you are having a great honeymoon period, and hopefully it stays like that for you, but it may stop.

Sometimes drinking on nal can cause the alcohol to sneak up on you, so please be careful if you drink drive...please try not to.

That strange late reaction with a pounding migraine could have been a nal over, but if that is all you ever experienced feel lucky. When I had my first nal over I thought I would need to go to the E.R. for it was worse than anything that I have ever experienced, but it is different for everyone.

I think it is great that you are setting a limit, for it can help. And hopefully you can stick to less than 6 drinks.

Good luck and keep us posted,

Jaba


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