Substance abuse / alcoholism?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 05, 2008 11:07 PM GMT
    Just curious if anyone else around here has dealt w/ substance abuse issues. I considered posting this in the depression thread, because for me, the two are pretty closely linked. I'll get depressed, and I'll drink, cause it cheers me up, and then the next day, I'm just more depressed. I guess the wake up call came when I realized that I can't drink w/ out getting completely wasted. Anyway, just curious about other people's experiences.
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    Feb 05, 2008 11:23 PM GMT
    Have dated a few who put their faith in better living through modern chemistry.

    I prefer more clarity.

    Also dated one guy who was clean then relapsed, we separated, shortly after he ended up OD ing.

    Yeah, it was a lot of fun identifying the body and then telling his family.

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    Feb 05, 2008 11:27 PM GMT
    ITJock said
    Also dated one guy who was clean then relapsed, we separated, shortly after he ended up OD ing.

    Yeah, it was a lot of fun identifying the body and then telling his family.

    Umm.... Matterych has posted because he is depressed and looking for support and answers. I'm sure this lovely, cheerful post will give him just the boost he needs. Good work.
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    Feb 05, 2008 11:40 PM GMT
    I know it sounds cliched, but you should get in a program. I've dated several guys with substance abuse issues and the ones that have gone to AA, CMA or NA have all turned their lives around and are much happier for it. They told me it isn't always easy, but being sober and trying to be happy is much easier than being wasted and miserable.

    As for the depression, I would recommend counseling first. I'm cautious of psyche meds because of negative experiences I have had with them, but I know they have worked wonders for other people.

    You're on the right track because you've acknowledged the problem. Just do something about it now.icon_wink.gif
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    Feb 05, 2008 11:56 PM GMT
    When I met my partner (21 years ago), I was a heavy partier and he didn't even drink. He would get very upset whenever I got high or drunk. I'm much less self-abusive, now, though I still have a drink nightly, I haven't drank to real excess in so long I can't remember. His influence on me caused a gradual change in my way of living OR it never got so bad that I eventually outgrew the celebration. People all around me hit rock bottom and many went to Jesus as a cure. I preferred them drunk, frankly, though when you're sober, it's real uncomfortable to be around wasted people. I dunno, it's too bad they can't come up with something that gets you off like LSD but that doesn't fuck you up with lasting effects or dangerous behavior while under the influence or addiction.
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    Feb 06, 2008 2:53 AM GMT
    i grew up in the rocky mountain west in the colorado mountains. idaho can be a lonely place to be gay, although there are gay communities there. sometimes the loneliness has a way of creeping up on you in ways you don't imagine or fully understand, you might start to blame yourself for it or internalize some of the bigotry around you from co-workers, family, or whatever. I would have to second the suggestion for counseling. if at ALL possible find someone who is gay and comfortable with themselves, in a solid, loving, long term relationship, etc. a lot of guys in larger urban areas take this for granted, but i know how difficult it can be to find someone you fully trust and trustworthy in rural or natural areas.

    i can understand wanting to stay too ;-) san francisco, new york and other 'gay cities' never really fully cut it after living in god's country, especially if you grew up there. you can usually find a good balance where ever you're at though.

    don't let the situation isolate you. being around stable friends and family members who accept you for YOU and who have their shit together and know how to have a good time without booze or other drugs is critical, especially if you have an actual addiction to alcohol. if you don't have these kind of friends, make them. it takes time, but it's more than worth it.

    it's good to see you actually talking about it - that's a really good intitial sign that you're going to come through all this just fine.

    my best wishes for you.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 06, 2008 3:34 AM GMT
    My father is an alcoholic and only stopped because he was eventually debilitated to the point that he could not drink unless someone got it for him. I have also dated 4 people with substance abuse problems, mostly alcohol.

    I live with an alcoholic right now, and he like you, drinks to get drunk, and is depressed after the day he stops and cannot sleep.

    I think people who do drink like you are describing, don't realize how much pain they may cause others and how much they are missing out on being happily sober. I have so much I can say about this. I hate to see people I love destroy themselves this way. And the sad thing is no matter how much you love someone that is an alcoholic, there is little you can do but watch the downward spiral.

    At my age, whenever I meet someone like a boyfriend, I see possibilities like a happy future doing things and gracefully growing older together. But when I see a lover in this situation I see darkness and grief .. basically I see no future.

    On a better note, my first lover who had problems with alcohol and then party drugs, has really gotten his life together in the past 2 years (out of the 12 I have known him). He is now taking Cymbalta and using hormone therapy and he has totally changed. He feels that since taking the Cymbalta, he does not desire the drugs anymore. Funny thing is that he also tried Wellbutrin and with that he lost his craving for alcohol. I don't know if it was because the drug itself or because the depression was treated, but it is something you should consider.

    I myself suffered depression in my 20's but managed to pull myself out of it. My baby brother was not so lucky. I miss him a lot.
  • medic

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    Feb 06, 2008 3:56 AM GMT
    I see two possibilities here. One, a person is self-medicating depression with alcohol. Not a good choice as alcohol has both stimulant and depressive properties. See a medical provider and have an assessment for depression. They may suggest prescriptions or even Saint John's Wort.

    A second concern would be an addiction problem. My experience with this is that it is like a broken off switch. Alcohol and drugs may work for a while but then they stop working and the person cannot stop. They drink when they "want to" and then when they don't want to. This is like an allergy and once affected the person will not revert back to a social drinker or "recreational user" of drugs. This person needs help. A substance abuse professional or a 12-Step meeting may be the very place that a solution can be found.

    I have experience as the professional and as the recovering person. I have spent 2 decades in recovery and it is the best thing that ever happened to me.

    Don't isolate. There are thousands like you and you do not need to be alone. Best of Luck.
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    Feb 06, 2008 4:01 AM GMT
    Please DO Something to get better and be happy. Don't deny someone the joy and privilege of getting to know and love you! The real you.
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    Feb 07, 2008 5:17 AM GMT
    I've been through the motions as well. When I lived in Nebraska, I drank heavily. My friends and I drank every weekend on Friday and Saturday. I remember going broke and not eating for three days cause I spent all my money on alcohol. Well one night my roommate (and drinking friend) got pissed off at me, and kicked me out. So I got a place of my own, dumped all of my friends, and started over. Things were great until I moved to Okinawa.

    In Okinawa, I found that most of the time the cops would let you go, unless you were totally shit-faced, because most of them didn't speak English. So I would go out get drunk and drive home. Especially when I drank with my friend Jason. We lived fairly close to each other so I would take all of the back roads to get to my place. On a given weekend, I would start with 2 40 ounces, and I would progress to some sort of hard alcohol. I just loved getting drunk with my friends. One night though I was doing double shots of Tequila and chasing with Corona, and I blacked out. I woke up a couple of hours later in the hospital. I was required to go to AA because of the fact that I ended up in the hospital.

    When I left Okinawa, I stopped going to AA. I continued to drink heavily, until about 2 years ago. I took a good look at myself in the mirror, and I had to analyze myself. It has not been easy, but I've got myself down to one beer a month, and I'm pretty happy about that. What really got to me was when I was in AA the counselor said that if you have amnesia there is a chance that your memories will come back; However, if you blackout there is no chance that those memories will come back. Years later, I try to remember that night, and not a single memory has come back. People have told me what has happened that night, but that hasn't helped at all. I don't ever want to black out again so that has been the motivating force behind my staying sober. Help is out there. Don't lose hope.
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    Feb 07, 2008 6:26 AM GMT

    I too have had problems with alcohol and depression, so know that you are not alone.

    My suggestion is to find some sort of support for yourself. No matter what that support system is. It is a lot to take on all by yourself and often people tend to relapse into their old ways when trying to do it all on their own. I personally found a great mental health provider who specialized in addiction issues and GLBT health/relationships, in addition to other things. Tackling the depression might help you with stopping drinking and vice versa. If you can't find someone like that, find someone that you are comfortable with at the very least.

    Groups can be helpful too. AA, 12-step groups, 16-step groups, SMART recovery groups, etc. are out there to help folks break the feeling of isolation and help them connect with helpful resources. There are also a lot of online support options, live-chat support groups, yahoo groups, etc. Also, check out some of the books by gay authors who have had addiction issues. That helped me out a ton! I really liked the book, "Dry" by Augusten Burroughs.

    Whatever you do though, don't beat yourself up about it. All sorts of people have addiction issues from all walks of life. I know doctors, therapists, lawyers, ministers, teachers, etc. that have all dealt with it. Nobody set out to become an alcoholic or an addict, but it happened anyway. Hang in there, find some support and stay strong! icon_smile.gif
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    Feb 13, 2008 8:06 AM GMT
    My problem was never with alcohol per se, but I did have a heroin addiction for a little over 2 years. I guess you could say I mixed a lot of substances that shouldn't ever be mixed (heroin, speed, pot, poppers, hash, 'shrooms, alcohol, acid and others that I can't remember now) but heroin was the central drug and the other stuff was incedental. I hit rock bottom when I OD'd at the age of 22, was found (thankfully) by my lover at that time, got off the heroin the hard way (cold turkey), and lived to tell the tale. I was using back then because I wanted to feel numb... there was a lot of emotional pain from growing up with an emotionally abusive dad, and I was trying to not feel anything. I've been clean for almost 23 years now.

    What you do about your depression and your drinking is your choice. You've taken the first step in talking about it here. Now, having recognized the problem and having admitted it to others, the next step is to find help... medical help for the depression (and consider counseling as an option, too... it might help), and either a 12-step program or rehab for the alcohol abuse. The important thing is that you seek help now. It might turn out to be the hardest thing you'll ever have to do, but you can do it... and its so worth it to experience life without the depression and without the haze of some kind of chemical. Good luck, Matterych!
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    Feb 13, 2008 2:20 PM GMT
    Study shows alcohol cause depression. and if depression drives you to drink more, you'll just be deeper in depression.
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    Feb 13, 2008 2:31 PM GMT
    First of all get to the bottom of what is depressing you? Deal with it and don't use Drink as a way out because the next day it will still be with you!

    Your 27 so what's to be depressed about?

    If you were over the hill or ready for the funny farm i would understand?

    You look a cool kind of guy so cheer up mate!
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    Feb 13, 2008 3:04 PM GMT
    I am a former drugs abuser.
    I started doing drugs at age 15 while I was living in the Netherlands.
    Drugs have messed up my teenage years, my health and my balance.
    It took me years to get off them.
    One advise: stay off them !
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    Feb 16, 2008 7:58 AM GMT
    I'm just a drunk in recovery . . . you or anyone else should feel absolutely free to email for help or information.
  • bigguysf

    Posts: 329

    Feb 16, 2008 8:36 AM GMT
    Alcohol is a major depressant. It works to seemingly elevate mood levels for a little while, but then there is even worse depression in the aftermath (as you are finding out). If you have issues with clinical depression, please go get them checked out and resist the urge to drink over any problems you feel you have. Drinking rarely makes problems "better". And for the most part can definitely make them worse!

    As an aside, I take St. Johns Wort occasionally to help my own fluctuating moods, and it definitely helps to take the edge off. But definitely talk to someone if you feel like you can't handle your depression alone.

    As for AA, it works for many people. But if you drink because you are clinically depressed, that might not be the best solution for you.

    Good luck with whatever path you take man.
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    Feb 17, 2008 3:06 PM GMT
    I have fortunately never had problems with alcohol or drugs. Mainly because addiction runs in my family so I was leery about overindulging, especially with alcohol. Drugs simply never interested me.

    If you think you have an alcohol problem, then AA does seem to work for many people. I know one person though who kept drinking well into his old age, then his body sent him a warning (an inflamed pancreas) and that scared him so much he never took another drink. You do not want to go that far, you may not be so lucky.
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    Feb 18, 2008 7:11 AM GMT
    Addiction of any kind is hard to overcome, the deeper you get into it, the harder it is to imagine your life without it. I don't know if I'd label myself as an alcoholic, but I definitely had a drinking problem. AA, SMART recovery, Rational Recovery, books, internet research and support groups have all had a place in getting me away from alcohol.

    I drank because I felt extreme anxiety in social situations. Now that I've been away from booze for several months, the anxiety's much better. I mean I am human and I still get anxious, moody, and depressed but at least I no longer have a controlled substance making these feelings worse.

    Talk with a doctor, and take care of the problem while you're young. Maybe try abstinence from alcohol for a month and see how you feel. I'm almost certain you'll feel a change in a positive direction even if for a bit it's just waking up without a hangover.
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    Apr 17, 2008 3:28 PM GMT
    Bud, you're brave to put this thing out there. Alcohol addiction (which only you can determine if that's your issue) wrecks lives. I'm a recovering alcoholic in a small town and I get the priviledge of seeing it nearly every day. I remember having a conversation with my maddeningly normal drinking brother and shared that "I just had to get used to watching people die". Being in the recovery community is like being on a battlefield where people you've grown fond of fall around you all the time.

    Sorry, I know that's a bummer. But I also have the priveledge of seeing people totally turn their lives around (including myself I might ad). Ending your isolation and finding a group af folks who know EXACTLY what you're going through is definitely a step in the right direction. And for me that's AA. No one in these groups is there to judge or technically to save you either. There just there to share their experience, strangth and hope with you. And if ya ask there's help.

    I was exactly in the same boat that you're in at your age. I decided I needed 20 more years of proof before I dealt with my alcoholism. I get a weekly reminder of how this disease affects guys accross all age groups and social backgrounds by taking a meeting to the local jail (which I might point out is a spa compared to some of the big city jails I've been in). It's gratifying to see a guy get out and embrace a more productive, enriching and sober life.

    I've only been in recovery for a little over three years and I gotta tell youm bro, it is a very, very cool thing and has set me on a path of personal growth that I never would have followed if I didn't have to deal with my addiction. It's natural to be fearful about taking the leap into a twelve step program but if you do decide to do it there's nothing but acceptance, guidance and deep, deep affection to be gained by doing it.

    Good luck, bud. You're not alone. If ya need help a lot of folks, including myself, are there for ya.

    (Hey, can anyone tell me how to post w/o the edit delete buttons showing up? Makes me look like a total friggin' newbie)
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    Apr 17, 2008 4:13 PM GMT
    I drank like a fish Friday night. We're talking college-era binging. I acted like a retard a couple of times later that night (typical uppity Bostonian), and I also paid very dearly the next day. Plus I was kind of depressed for another two or three days afterward (see gay bars thread). The only time I wasn't feeling down in the dumps was the fleeting moment during Sunday's softball happy hour when a new, smaller beer buzz kicked in. It's only today that I feel like my happy go get 'em self again.

    So the big reason I've been cutting down in my drinking is to avoid how I was feeling earlier in the week. The depression and lack of motivation that comes from a hangover is an interruption I cannot afford and do not want in my life. It makes me "dwell" instead of "do". Plus, diabetes and alcoholism run in my dad's side of the family, so I have to be careful.

    But, as a side, I like beer and can drink up to three without any adverse effects. How does one enjoy beer without creating a gut? It's a question for the ages (and another thread). ;-)
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    Apr 17, 2008 4:19 PM GMT
    Drinking totally depresses me the next day (or more if i really tie one on). I have had my fair share of drug and alcohol experiences and firmly beleive that drinking is one of the worst things you can do to your body. Argue away if want, but it takes me far longer to recover from booze. Mind you, I still love my wine and my rum and diets. I just need to regulate.

    With booze, your body gets used to that chemical. Even people who drink 1-2 drinks a night will have withdrawl once they stop drinking. Its a thing you have to remind yourself of. Trust, I have been trying to not drink wine with dinner, yet downed the better part of a bottle last night. Keep trying and you'll get there.
  • SoDakGuy

    Posts: 1862

    Apr 17, 2008 7:48 PM GMT
    When my Great Grandma died (the one who raised me when I was little), I drank heavily.

    When my first bf verbally abused me, I drank heavily.

    When I lost my job, my car and my apartment all within a few weeks; I drank heavily.

    My family never really deals with dark issues. How my family works, if you ignore it, hopefully it will go away.

    If you recognize that drinking when you are depressed isn't healthy, try to do something else. Work out, watch a comedy, go for a run - do something different.

    Talk to a trust worthy friend or a therapist.

    Just don't use crap to numb your feelings. It really isn't worth it at all.
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    Apr 17, 2008 8:40 PM GMT
    ebl333 saidStudy shows alcohol cause depression. and if depression drives you to drink more, you'll just be deeper in depression.

    This is the most useful advice - simple and direct.

    Since the depression-drinking cycle is self propelling, you need to stop drinking first. Try AA. Go to some meetings and just listen. Then after you've had some time there to really clear your system and more importantly, your head, you can consider counseling.
    You're the only one who can determine if your an alcoholic but the issue is really about not drinking first. You can't get better until you stop doing things that prevent you from getting better.