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complex issues, simple problem (addiction)

Discussion in 'Alcohol' started by joe p, Nov 6, 2018.

  1. joe p

    joe p Member


    I've only recently been reaching out for help (past 2 years through medical channels), never on a forum like this.

    Short story. Lifetime addict and military. Complications from 1 Iraq tour and 2 Afghanistan tours. Traumatic brain injury (several), post traumatic stress, major depression, suicidal thoughts (no plan, currently safe), in patient treatment this past summer and just trying to daily cope. I've seen hellish things in war but have always struggled with addiction. The more difficult my mind/memories came to live with, the more I coped with alcohol.

    Some other history. All my brothers who I loved very much have died (1 of overdose, 1 car accident, 1 of complications from a life of addiction). A few years back mom died. I'm not a very good griever and mostly denied it.

    The only thing I really love is a drink. I've tried to quit many times. Today I've fallen again.

    What's most frustrating is that I'm a person of faith. I have no doubt that there is a God, Jesus died for my sins, and that I'm forgiven.

    I think the saddest part of my existence is that I think with hope that one day I'll be diagnosed with a terminal illness and told - "you've got xx days / months". Outwardly I'd show sorrow, but in my heart I'd be happy that there would be an expiration date on my suffering.
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2018
  2. deanokat

    deanokat Community Organizer Community Listener

    @joe p... Welcome to the community and thank you for sharing. First off, I want to thank you for your service to our country. Today is voting day, and what people like you do and have done to protect my right to vote in a democracy is not lost on me. So thank you x 1,000,000.

    I'm sorry to hear about the difficult times and losses you've been through, and I'm sorry to hear that you're struggling with alcohol. You may have fallen again today, but I want you to know that you can pick yourself up, brush yourself off, and start again. There is no shame in that. Never give up. Never ever.

    I'm curious to know if you've ever received any treatment for this problem. Have you done inpatient or outpatient treatment? What about seeing an addiction specialist or therapist? Or going to support group meetings? If you don't mind sharing, I'd love to know a little more about what kinds of help you have/haven't tried.

    I am a firm believer that anyone can find long-term sobriety if they mix willingness and hope enough times. And I believe that for you, too.

    So often we self-medicate to help numb the negative things we're feeling. Perhaps if you could find another way to cope with the grief you're feeling, quitting alcohol would be easier. That's where therapy could be a big help, I think.

    We are here to help, support, and listen to you. Always without judgment, too. So please don't hesitate to come back here as often as you'd like. We truly care, my brother.

    Thank you again for your service. I'm sending lots of positive energy, hope, and encouragement your way. And I will pray hard for you, too.
    True concern and joe p like this.
  3. joe p

    joe p Member

    "I'm curious to know if you've ever received any treatment for this problem. Have you done inpatient or outpatient treatment? What about seeing an addiction specialist or therapist? Or going to support group meetings? If you don't mind sharing, I'd love to know a little more about what kinds of help you have/haven't tried."

    I've had inpatient and outpatient. I'm seeing a therapist and psychiatrist but have not been seen for addiction.

    Next week, I plan on starting a recovery program and specifically asking for help with addiction. The hardest thing about reaching out for these types of things is that I isolate severely and hate to leave the house / interact with people (part of the PTSD I guess).
  4. True concern

    True concern Moderator

    @joe p I thank you for your service and I hope and pray you can find something here that will help you. I have a son in law who suffers from PTSD and like you he did 1 tour in Iraq and 2 in Afghanistan,anyways @deanokat pretty much covered all the questions about therapy and counseling and I am happy to hear You're seeking help.I have never been in war with anything but addiction and like you I'm a man of faith and not long ago I was chasing death through alcohol and meth and.......whatever I could get my hands on,I wasn't suicidal so to say but I wasn't really worried about prolonging my life either.I hate to hear about your mental situation as far as suicide thoughts,depression,etc.I have struggled with addiction for over 20 year's and I'm not even 40 yet so ya that's depressing to read that way..half My life,anyways I have isolation issue's myself even sober,I don't know why but after so many year's fuc*ed up it is hard to function around other's or not even that but for some reason I feel less worthy or I don't fit in although when I'm outside I will do anything to help anyone,it's really hard to explain but that's the closest I can relate to your situation so for me I have been doing this forum for roughly 10 month's and it has been priceless to my "Reprogramming"efforts and I am on here everyday reading,commenting,reaching out,etc at this time it's what helps me not feel alone so please give it a shot daily if you can.I really wish there was a quick fix for addicts but there just isn't so I guess for the rest of my life I will be working on me and I imagine the same goes for you but please know YOU are not alone and we do care about you even though we have never met and all of us here in this forum would be honored to be able to be here for you in any way we can so please continue to reach out.I will share my fight with addiction just so you know a little about me.Stay Strong my friend

    This is my story of addiction.I was born in the early 80's at the age of six year's old i was diagnosed with that time there was a new F.D.A.approved drug by the name of Ritalin.At first it seemed to be a miracle pill,I was on this pill until the age of 18 at that time i decided i was no longer going to take this pill and it began just under a year passed and someone said "Have you ever tried crystal"which i had not at that time but i tried it and instantly noticed that it was 100% the same effect i got from Ritalin only difference was it lasted longer,or seemed to but honestly it was probably the quantity i was doing was greater than that of Ritalin i struggled with meth on and off for roughly 20 year's,not only meth but i was as well consuming 750ml of Jack Daniel's a day plus a 12 pack of beer.For those who don't know when you mix the two you don't appear to get drunk which is very deadly because infact you do get drunk however you don't realise it until it's too late meaning alcohol poisoning.I experienced this a few times and actually died on a hospital bed due to this fact,it took 3 hits with a defibrillator to restart my heart and i was told the only reason I was hit 3 times was because i was only 19 year's old,but usually after the second time if your heart doesn't restart you are then pronounced dead,but a nurse pleaded with the try one more time and he did and my heart started back up.I didn't know at the time but that nurse was actually the mother of the lead singer of Sublime who just lost her son to a heroin overdose.I am forever grateful for that nurse without her plea i would be another statistic.Unfortunately I didn't quite using drug's at that time i just traded substances.I started abusing pain pills heavily and increased that addiction to catastrophic proportions,it got so bad i started injecting heroin which i quickly traded for oxycontin because it was much stronger than heroin.I abused fentanyl as well but nothing compared to the oxycontin.At my worst i was injecting 240-320mg's of oxycontin a day,feeling i wouldn't survive another month i decided to seek help.I'm poor and i come from poor parent's so my options were limited,i ended up at a methadone clinic for help slowly decreasing my extremely high tolerance.At the clinic i had an interview with a drug addiction counselor and an addiction physician,i was hoping for good news but what i heard shock me to my core.I was told by both the same thing,"Sir we are sorry to tell you but your addiction and tolerance is beyond the point of return,whether you quit or continue either way you cannot survive you have if your lucky a month to live"My heart sank and i decided at that moment if i was going to die i would die trying.I went home and prayed and then i called my wife into the room to tell her the news.At that moment i apologized to her told her how much she meant to me and made her promise if i didn't make it she would move on re marry and live a happy life and she noded yes.After that i quite cold turkey and suffered pain and sickness i cannot describe,for 27 straight day's i did not leave the bedroom,i did not eat,i did not sleep,i hallucinated,i screamed in intense unimaginable pain,i lost over 50 pound's in that time frame and had to be rushed to the hospital 3 time's where they would rehydrate me and try to give me pain shots to stall the detox which i refused.On day 28 I took my first steps after i quite and by the grace of God i survived and this May im married 18 year's to my beautiful wife and guardian angel.This is the first time I've shared my story of addiction and i did it for one reason alone,i want everyone to know i understand what you are going through and no matter how bad it gets there is hope.I'm here for each and everyone of you,if you ever need someone to talk to,if you ever feel no one understands im all ears and i do understand.Stay Strong We're rooting for you
    deanokat and joe p like this.
  5. joe p

    joe p Member

    @True concern, thank you for the encouragement and kind words. You have been through some tough times and I was glad to read that you've found healing. I also appreciate you sharing your story. What a great nurse who helped save you. Also, what a testament to your answered prayers that you survived even when told you wouldn't.

    I hate that I feel like I do. I'm tired of the struggle but will seek out help on Tue when we go back to work.

    I will try to check in on this forum more often and I think I definitely need a support group of like minded folks (perhaps AA or a similar veteran's group).
    deanokat, True concern and Dominica like this.
  6. Dominica

    Dominica Recovery Advocate @ Moving Beyond Codependency Community Listener

    @joe p

    Hello and welcome. I'm so glad that you've reached out here. I'm sorry for all of the traumatic things that you've experienced. I'm sure carrying all that pain and grief has not been easy, and thus, a big reason why you drink. And now your brain has become hardwired to need alcohol to keep from feeling those painful feelings. (But can be re-wired!) So when you keep reaching for a drink, don't beat yourself up, it's pretty much science. You are not a bad person, you simply became addicted to a drug. But there is definitely hope for freedom.

    I'm glad to hear that you have faith. That will come in handy for your recovery. I do think that some sort of support system can be super helpful. I think AA would be a great Avenue for you, and some Churches have a Celebrate Recovery support group. Getting involved in a church might be helpful as well. And of course a good therapist who will help you learn how to start peeling back layers and layers of things you've avoided feeling over the years. Especially grief. I'm not sure how deep you've ever gone into therapy, but I wouldn't discount it moving forward. There's also various newer techniques to contend with PTSD. Something to look into.

    And of course your faith Journey. Believing in something greater than yourself to guide you to your own individual recovery path. And spiritual path.... coming to know god in a closer way... inside.

    Of course we will definitely be for you anytime! I hope that you'll become a regular here!
    joe p, deanokat and True concern like this.
  7. deanokat

    deanokat Community Organizer Community Listener

    @joe p... I'm proud of you for starting a recovery program and for going outside of your comfort zone to do it. But I'm hopeful that it will be a good thing for you. Also, if you ever need online support, you can always lean on us. Or find support group meetings online at

    Sending you another big dose of positive energy, hope, and encouragement. And thanking you again for your service on this Veterans Day.
    True concern and joe p like this.
  8. joe p

    joe p Member

    I have a small victory to share. I woke up this morning and still felt depressed / anxious but I was better than I was this weekend. What a relief for now. I had some thoughts to drink but did NOT act; I did not drink today. Of course, today I'm feeling better and I know that my real danger is when I'm in a major depression episode or anxiety attack.

    I saw my medical folks and started enrollment in the Army addiction program (minimum 28 days). I also spoke with my psychiatrist about some new medication and my therapist about starting to process some of my trauma through Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR).

    I've still got shame/guilt for feeling how I feel but I know that's not productive.

    Overall, a good day compared to nearly 2 weeks of hell.
    Dominica, True concern and deanokat like this.
  9. deanokat

    deanokat Community Organizer Community Listener

    I’m super proud of you, @joe p! You had some thoughts about drinking, but didn’t drink. That is a victory, for sure. And don’t underestimate the size of that victory, either. Good on you for seeing the medical people, enrolling in the Army addiction program, and talking to your psychiatrist and therapist. You are taking big steps toward improving yourself, and that’s incredibly admirable. Please, please, please try to let at least some of that shame and guilt go. You’re right: it’s NOT a productive.

    Keep doing what you’re doing, my friend. We are here for you...always.
    joe p, Dominica and True concern like this.
  10. True concern

    True concern Moderator

    @joe p I can't express enough how happy I am about hearing this news,I am not a veteran, nor am I active duty but as many-most-everyone who has been on this journey with me over this past 10 month's know my heart bleeds red-white-blue and a big part of my recovery has been for love of country and I am trying to reshape what's left in my life with all the training I use to do and in 2 week's I will start again in hopes that I can do something meaningful with the rest of my time here on earth,so though this maybe off topic everyone knows I am pushing myself to great extremes in hopes to be able to enlist at my current age(which is oldest they allow)by 11 month's from now so hearing from military/ex military in their struggle with addiction......It gives me hope that maybe just maybe I haven't wasted my entire life. STAY STRONG AND GOD BLESS
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  11. Dominica

    Dominica Recovery Advocate @ Moving Beyond Codependency Community Listener

    @joe p

    Hey there!! What a wonderful update! Happy for this Victory and for the positive momentum you have going on in your life. You will not be disappointed that you're being so proactive in your recovery on all levels. I encourage you to practice letting go of that shame and guilt everyday. When we know better, we do better.

    You are a good soul and worthy of unconditional love from yourself and others. :)

    Have a blessed day!
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  12. deanokat

    deanokat Community Organizer Community Listener

    Hey, @joe p... I just want you to know that I'm hoping you have another good day today. I'm thinking of you and sending you a ton of positive energy. Proud of you, my friend! :)
    True concern and joe p like this.
  13. joe p

    joe p Member

    I appreciate all the kind words and encouragement.

    Today is not great, but I'm not drinking. It's a crazy thing that even with all the pain I just went through, there is still a desire for more alcohol. It is insane how this addiction works hard and even puts in overtime to bring a person to ruin.

    I also keep hearing the lies in my head:
    "Oh come on, you're not really an addict. You can enjoy alcohol and not have a problem. Why are you bothering all these good folks and embarrassing yourself with something that's not even an issue?"

    I spoke with my therapist today and she said it was definitely OK to call her cell the next time I'm in crisis. I also have another friend who said I could call at any time.

    I keep worrying about several months from now, or my next depressive/anxiety episode, but I'm trying to focus on just today.
    Dominica, deanokat and True concern like this.
  14. True concern

    True concern Moderator

    You tell those thoughts that this is what we do,you are not embarrassing yourself you are bettering yourself and if we didn't hear from you we would worry about you so all those "You don't have a problem" thoughts can kiss myass:confused:.We care and we know addiction will lie straight to your soul then end your life so around here addiction understands we got our eye on it:) So To Speak
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  15. deanokat

    deanokat Community Organizer Community Listener

    One day at a time, @joe p. All we really have is today, so try to live in the here and now.

    Glad your therapist told you you could call her the next time you’re in crisis. That’s a good lifeline to have. So is your friend.
    True concern, joe p and Dominica like this.
  16. Dominica

    Dominica Recovery Advocate @ Moving Beyond Codependency Community Listener

    @joe p Hey there. That's great that your therapist said you could call them. Take advantage of that. It helped me a lot when I learned more about alcohol and how it affects the body in a negative way. Like the more conscious I became about alcohol and essentially how we've been brainwashed to think that you can't have fun without it ----the more I didn't want to touch the stuff. But still the brain will remember that connection that you've created--- like the bad habit, so it's just going to take some time for your brain to forget. But it will :)
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  17. joe p

    joe p Member

    Been up since 3AM so I got out of bed. I've had insomnia for as long as I can remember. I've had nightmares since the war.

    I forgot to mention that since I've been in treatment for PTSD and depression that I've also been treatment resistant. In other words, I haven't responded to medications. I'm still on several (seroquel (anti psychotic), lunesta (sleep), ritalin (atypical anti depressant / ADHD) and recently added trintillix (SSRI, newer). I've been reading how these can permanently damage one's brain and there is a hellish withdrawal once you try to get off them. I'll have to contend with this medication beast one day but I can't right now.

    One treatment I did was ECT (electroconvulsive therapy, shock treatment, electroshock). This "involves the application of two electrodes to the head to pass electricity through the brain with the goal of causing an intense seizure or convulsion." I had about 6 of these and then refused any more.

    Here's why I stopped ECT. I've been involved in many forms of violence in my life, both physical/personal and combat. I've been in danger and scared. However nothing, nothing ever in my life scared me like ECT. After about the 3rd treatment the memory loss was very severe. On the last 2 treatments I woke up and didn't know who I was or my family. This was the most disturbing experience I've ever had - the fear of being like a dementia or Alzheimer's patient and I'm not even yet 45. Granted, the effects were temporary but I do believe I've permanently lost some (perhaps substantial) brain function. I'm "slower" with much of what I do and how I communicate. Decisions are difficult for me and I sometimes make bad ones.

    I feel like my treatment has made me basically trade some mental health symptoms for different ones. I wish I could get drunk right now and forget about all this but I remember the pain from last time and I will not drink.
  18. Dominica

    Dominica Recovery Advocate @ Moving Beyond Codependency Community Listener

    @joe p

    Hey there! I'm sorry that you have trouble sleeping. I imagine that can make for some miserable days. I do hope that can be resolved somehow.

    Wow that's something about the ECT. I'm curious as to when you had these treatments. I didn't even think they did them anymore. I'm so glad that you stopped. I do hope that you haven't permanently lost some brain function. I do know that the brain is quite resilient, and if you read about neuroplasticity, you'll see some great research concerning the brain and its ability to heal itself.

    If you can't contend with the medication right now, then don't. I know you probably want to get off some of that, and you can in due time. What other treatments have you tried for PTSD? I'm just curious. There seems to be new ones popping up that some people are finding effective.

    I'm glad that you see that getting drunk won't solve anything. And definitely call your therapist if you're feeling like you might. Keep your head up and keep believing for better. It's progress you're after, not perfection. And know that we're behind you one hundred percent!
    joe p, deanokat and True concern like this.
  19. True concern

    True concern Moderator

    @joe p Good morning my friend, I am sorry to hear about your struggle with insomnia and nightmares,as for the insomnia I am one of those people who has suffered mightily from it myself....nightmares as well,mine are not of war but every time I fall a sleep I dream someone is harming my wife and kid's and for year's now I wake up every morning screaming for my wife and searching for about 10-15 seconds until I realize it was yet another episode so I sympathize with you on that, I obviously don't know what your dreams are and I won't pretend to but my friend I have heard about my son in laws and if yours are anything like his I truly pray the Lord eases your conscious and we as Americans are extremely lucky to have men and women who love us so much they endure such pain,I could never thank you enough for keeping me and my family safe and so as long as you continue to type and reach out I will be here for you for however long you need so please Stay Strong my friend. Your medication list scares me,Seroquel...I was on it for a very short time year's ago but it wasn't for me and I also have a uncle currently on it and from what I can tell it doesn't help him either but it maybe it doesn't help him because of all the meth he mixes with it so I do hope it helps you in some way,I was on Ritalin my entire childhood and when I turned 17-18 year's old it started working against me,it actually fueled my suicidal thoughts and actually caused me to slit my wrist at one point,luckily I survived because I sliced across and not up and down so just because they tell you it's for depression please ask more questions about it or try to pay more attention to see if this medication is fueling your emotional state in a negative way especially considering you are also on Seroquel, my friend I know from experience these 2 together are potentially the driving force to depression, and though I don't know what you saw over there but I have heard stories from my son in law and he was infantry 2nd battalion. Lunesta for sleep...just curious if it helps and I ask because it would have to overpower the Ritalin before you slept.I am no Dr, I just care enough to ask/point out the truth about these pills as I have lived and seen the destruction they cause so please don't think I'm trying to tell you what to do or how to do it I just want to help shed light on some things you may not be aware of about the medication they have you on.Please no more ECT,don't let them erase you:(I can't say I know your horror because I don't I only know my own,no matter what medicine I took my horror grew and you have read my story,NO I wasn't getting shot at or being blown up as I breach a door to have an RPG hit the other side while breaching so I cant say i have been there but i have tried every substance in excess to try and escape other traumatic episodes in my life,i wont go into it again but I have spoke of abuse when i was a child and i tried every substance i could get my hands on to forget,to deal with it all the way till i had to be brought back to life(Thank you lord)and brother i want to see you overcome these demons that haunt you,i will never stop responding to you as long as you share i will do my best to offer something.STAY STRONG AND GOD BLESS :)
    joe p likes this.
  20. deanokat

    deanokat Community Organizer Community Listener

    I'm sorry for your struggles, @joe p. I know insomnia is a bitch. I went through a long bout of it when my son was in the throes of his addiction and I was like a zombie trying to go through the motions of life on most days. I hope you can get some good sleep soon. And that the nightmares eventually subside. Never lose hope, okay?

    You're on a lot of meds, for sure. But I totally understand your not being able to deal with getting off of them right now. That's okay. Take your time and do it when you feel ready.

    As far as the ECT goes... I'm glad you shared your experience here. My son, who is 28 and has struggled with mental health issues pretty much all his life, was actually thinking about trying ECT at one point not too long ago. But he decided not to do it. Reading your post makes me glad he didn't go through with it.

    I wish I had a way to cure you of all your ailments, my friend. If I had a magic wand, I would gladly use it to whisk you back to normalcy. Unfortunately, there are no magic wands. So I will do what I am able to do for you from afar, and that's pray. Pray hard. And hope that you can feel better, physically and mentally, soon. Remember: Drinking will NOT solve your problems. The relief it may bring is only temporary, and when that relief wears off you will be right back where you were, but with even more issues because of the alcohol. In addition, drinking while on those meds just isn't a good idea.

    We're here for you, and we care deeply. Please continue to use us for support, and as a place to get things off your chest. That alone can go a long way toward easing your mind.

    You're a good man, Joe. I can tell that. And I'm so glad you're here with us.
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