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I use alcohol to help me sleep & reduce anxiety

Discussion in 'Alcohol' started by TheVividDreamer, Jul 21, 2018.

  1. Hey,

    okay this is a first for me and almost equally stressful as being in a group of people sitting in a circle and talking, I am suffering from general anxiety, long-time general depression and not being able to sleep(since I started using alcohol). I did not say insomnia because eventually I fall asleep but it takes time (around 3-4AM). I use sufficient amount of alcohol (around 34oz of 20-22 proof wine for example) just before bed time because it puts me to sleep efficiently. I have never asked for any medication because me going to the doctor which I only went 3 times as a kid, nearly impossible now as an 23 year old adult because I'm scared I wont lie. But I have recently come in contact with a drug named xanax (without prescription) and would be grateful if you can give me some answers. I have 1mg pills, the purpose of me taking them is to substitute before-bed alcohol drinking and to just let me sleep and get off this addictive and mostly crippling and poisonous liquid that is alcohol. Can this be possible, I won't deny I am an alcoholic, but a specific kind. I only mildly crave a drink throughout the day which I can control but still give into a beer or two before 6PM. But nonetheless, before bedtime, if I don't drink enough to let me sleep, I am quite a burden to myself. I am not agressive or anything, I only suffer from stress and depression but thus had advanced into anxiety, a condition which I wasn't even aware of until it started happening to me. It makes me overthink everything and sometimes out of nowhere I get these 15-30min anxiety attacks which are getting worse, and are protruding through the day when I am sober. I took an 1mg pill of xanax and I did fell asleep much earlier, at the right time, but I somehow cannot convince myself this was the pill but instead it was just me being tired. I want to know, that this is helping me sleep without alcohol and will help me throigh anxiety caused by withdrawal because I also do not wanna overuse any more substances ever again in my life because, I found through alcohol that overdoing ANY drug is dangerous, irresponsible, addictive and possibly fatal.
    Many thanks if you've read my story, I know I am not the only one, but I just wanna get out of this addiction, travel and see the world, enjoy life. I dont want this new thing to get me out of alcohol and onto another, I want to be free.

    Have a nice day! Z
  2. True concern

    True concern Moderator

    sounds like you suffer from anxiety which means yes 1 mg xanax would help your symptoms however its highly addictive and is one of the hardest class of narcotic to detox off of period,so therefore i advise you see a dr and be honest as both your substances are potentially deadly,i speak from experience with both and my honest opinion is your playing with fire.Stay Strong and God Bless
    deanokat and Dominica like this.
  3. Dominica

    Dominica Recovery Advocate @ Moving Beyond Codependency Community Listener

    @TheVividDreamer hello! thanks for reaching out. xanax if very addictive.... i caution using it at all....

    i understand sleep issues can be problematic, but trying to self-medicate can only make matters worse...

    are you able to see a doctor about this? a sleep specialist? i think that would be your best bet... there may be some effective alternate solutions you can try..

    i'd def stop taking xanax, and work on coming off the alcohol...
    deanokat and True concern like this.
  4. deanokat

    deanokat Community Organizer Community Listener

    Welcome to the community, @TheVividDreamer. I'm glad you found us and took the time to post, even if it was stressful for you. And I'm sorry you have sleep issues, too.

    One thing you may not know: Alcohol may help you fall asleep faster, but studies have shown that it actually interferes with the sleep cycle. It totally messes with the REM cycle and disrupts your night of sleep. This article from WebMD will tell you all about that:

    Alcohol is also a depressant, so you're not helping your depression any by drinking, either.

    @True concern is right about the Xanax. It will help your anxiety symptoms and would probably help you get to sleep quicker. But benzodiazepines--of which Xanax is one--are some of the nastiest drugs out there. They are also only supposed to be used short-term, although many doctors don't tell their patients this. Benzos are also highly addictive and incredibly difficult to get off of. The only way to safely get off of a benzo is to wean off of it very slowly.

    I love @Dominica's idea of seeing a sleep specialist. I also suggest experimenting with some other techniques, like deep-breathing exercises, meditation, maybe some yoga before bed, etc. Having to rely on alcohol or a powerful medication to get to sleep every night is not a good thing. The long-term effects can be horrible.

    For what it's worth, here's a deep-breathing exercise I use to help me fall asleep quicker. It works for me. Maybe it will work for you, too. It's worth a try, isn't it?

    True concern likes this.
  5. lonewolves

    lonewolves Community Champion

    Hi @TheVividDreamer!
    For 10 years I thought nothing of my insomnia. Like you, it was not TERRIBLE, but I could never fall asleep easily. I quit drinking alcohol for many reasons, but sleep wasn’t one of them. Within a couple of weeks of sobriety, I was SHOCKED to find that I fell asleep the second my head hit the pillow. Like @deanokat said, alcohol messes with your sleep cycle. This was something I was unaware of, and had always assumed that it was my anxiety that kept me awake. I hope you find peace, whatever that may mean for you, and I hope you can finally get a good night sleep!
    True concern and deanokat like this.