I quit drinking in October 2009.  That’s about six months ago.  Prior to that, I’d been self-medicating with booze since the early 90s.  The vast majority of those years, it was daily? So, you would think that in quitting after so long, it would be some incredible accomplishment.  Well, hold the applause.

I didn’t quite because I wanted to.  I quit because it suddenly made me sick.  After all of those years, it started to cause me migraines.  If not for that, I’d still be happily (or unhappily for all of the trouble it caused me), self-medicating to this day.  Sometimes, I still feel pangs of guilt for not doing it of my own volition.  Well, I quit.  That’s all that matters?

Since then, I have ingested alcohol, fallen off the wagon, fallen off the wagon, ingested alcohol, twice.  Once was during Christmas last year, and the second time is today.  Why? Well, there must have been a reason, of course.  That is because I never had a problem quitting drinking.  It didn’t bother me at all.  I have been in the company of others drinking, and never felt any “cravings.”  I have been on my own, and just the same.

Both then and today, sure, something was going on.  But both then, and today, I had the same feelings about my sobriety.  I was rational, I was cognizant.  I knew I had a choice.  I still didn’t “crave” alcohol.  I simply said, “Fuck it.”

As a result, I’ve now had three thoughts.

The first was, ‘Oh, please don’t let me get a migraine!” Well, that’s easy enough to understand.  The second is a bit more complicated (and as is the third, that will not be written in italics, either!)

When I had that one drink over Christmas, I had that same, first, thought about not getting a migraine.  It was the first drink I’d had in three months, and the migraines from the drinking had been the most severe that I’d ever had.  Well, I didn’t have one.  I felt like I had escaped a death trap!

So, after actually quitting.  After not drinking for so long.  I’m wondering if getting the migraines was a “Wake-Up Call” of sorts.  A way to get me to stop self-medicating.  Now, please don’t misunderstand.  Yes, I have been drinking today, and I still plan to not to drink! However, I know, I know…does it sound like a bunch of psychobabble, mumbo jumbo? But was it enough, just to tell me what I needed to know–or what I already knew? To stop?

Third.  Now that I have ingested alcohol, fallen off the wagon, fallen off the wagon, ingested alcohol, twice.  Does that mean I can no longer be trusted?

This is two pronged.  Can I trust myself? Well, I think I can.  I said that I had no problems with quitting before…and yet, I have now had something to drink twice in six months.  Is that a big deal? I’m not self-medicating.  Or am I? Some kind of “trigger,” where I could have said no, but I didn’t.  However, I will hasten to add, I have experienced many other triggers where I definitely could have wanted to drink, but did not!

So, I think I can trust myself.  Yes.

The second trust issue? What about others? Others who may have perceived me as “some awful drunk!” Someone who does such terrible things “as an alcoholic!” True, alcoholism is a disease.  But it hurts others.  So, if others see me drinking again, do I lose their trust? Will they lose their faith in me if I have another drink?

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  1. I won’t loose my faith in you, though I tend to think you should stick with your guns, but that may just be because a lot of people in my family have had a lot of trouble with alcohol.

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  2. Hi Canageek. Thanks, hon’. No, I certainly will “stick to my guns,” for sure. I know what alcoholism can do, and just how painful and destructive it can be. Not only to myself, but to others, as I tried to state in my post.

    My sister was married to an alcoholic. It was hell for her. As a result, she has “seen” me drink, and transferred her experiences on to me.

    I know other people too, who have had bad experiences with people who were alcoholics. Then, they met me who self-medicated. It wasn’t like they didn’t care for me, but because I did drink? A problem?

    Again, it’s not like I’m going to go back to the self-medication days of old. I just wanted to write this post for me, and maybe anyone else who might have some thoughts about it, too. It’s a hard issue.

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  3. This might be way out in left field, but I did notice while reading your blog that your gastro issues resurfaced after you stopped drinking. Something similar happened to me. I used to take Klonopin for anxiety attacks and I had terrible bowel problems after I stopped it. They have since subsided, but I bring this up because I have been reading about how benzo withdrawal is very similar to alcohol cessation and can cause gastro issues, especialy IBS-like conditions. Of course, anxiety and a number of other things can cause this, too, but it seems that these kinds of problems can occur after the bowels, muscles, and nervous system have been artificially relaxed for too long and then the relaxing agent (benzos/ alcohol) is removed. For me, I make sure I eat good, solid food (astonishingly, fiber helps) and I eat a lot of yogurt and take probiotics. Anyway, I just wanted to stop in and tell you this stuff in case it might help you in any way. (And may I inquire whether your gastro stuff was better the day after you drank? If so, maybe you can tell your doc? And if he says benzos – RUN like hell!)

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  4. Have you tried cutting back on tea? Or moving to a different type? I know that you drink it like water, and that caffeine can screw with gastro systems.

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  5. Hi Ethereal Highway. Nice to meet you and welcome to my blog. Not to worry about being “way out in left field.” I would say that the majority of this blog is “way out in left field!”

    Thank you for sharing your gastro experiences. I always find it good to learn from others, whether they have the same problems as I do, or whatever problems! If you have been reading my blog (as you say), you may have picked up on my “passion” for medicine (i.e. PA=Med Geek.)

    As far as my gastro problems? Well, I shall try and keep it brief. Both the problems and the story? Long and convoluted. Let me try and address things as simply as I can, based upon your points. Then, if you have any other questions, you can come back and we will discuss further? How does that sound?

    Alcohol. Alcohol has never had any negative impact on my gastro issues, except for a positive one. I know. Well, at least I think so. The thing is, when I was in a lot of pain, and I would drink beer, the pain would ease. Of course, I could never find anything in the “Literature,” to support this.

    I then spoke to someone I met online. They told me that bitter hops was a good remedy for stomach ailments. I thought it might have been a bit of a stretch, but the hops in beer? Maybe not so much of a stretch? Regardless, no impact whatsoever regarding alcohol. Reason being, the onset of my problems was extremely acute, and also extremely baffling. We can get to the diagnosis later? And where I now stand, later?

    Medication (and specifically benzos), as you mentioned. I have tried several, and been on and off them for years. No problem at all. Currently, I am taking Valium/Diazepam, prn for any anxiety. It does not affect my stomach. None of them ever have before.

    Ah, let’s also mention here, that my disastrous, gastro problems came on about app. four years ago. During that time, I was on a hypnotic for sleep that is similar to a benzo in pharmacology and method of action. Regardless, it had nothing to do with my acute onset of symptoms, and subsequent illness.

    When sick (the first time–not now), my symptoms were indicative of all gastro problems. You name it. Right up to cancer. The only thing that could be “diagnosed,” was that my lower intestine was not functioning properly. Not a “real” medical diagnosis. A natural, bran-type, therapy was instituted. It seemed to help, except for some residual pain, and hardly an weight gain from what was lost.

    Now, where things stand. They are different. I am exhibiting some of the same symptoms, but others that are “different.” The “difference” is in their combination. What that combination could possibly be, is a problem with malabsorption? Because I am eating (no loss of appetite as before), I am voiding regularly, however, I have lost a drastic amount of weight–again. That didn’t happen before. That combination is a concern.

    Okay, I think that was rather lengthy! I said I would try to keep it brief?

    Ah, stress! Indeed. Gastro Man and I knew completely, there would be massive potential for things to come back when I lost my job two years ago. I guess it just took this long?

    Also, since I work so well with my physicians, I’ve already thrown Celiac at him. We’ll see (no pun intended), when I go for my endoscopy. That would explain ongoing pain with what I eat, as gluten is everywhere! Also, Celiac can be diagnosed and found at any age. It may have not presented the first time around, but could be there now! So, if it is Celiac, all “fiber” is out! Or at least wheat etc… forms!

    Hi Canageek. As all of the above, my insane gastro problems had a severely, acute onset. Caffeine is not a problem. Gastro Man and I know my diet through and through. All of my doctors do. They know all of my meds (of course), I drink tea, I smoke… Those are things that are all inter-related, due to all of my comorbidities, and really, almost like a “checklist.”

    Actually, tea doesn’t hurt my tummy. Coffee can be icky. I don’t like the taste of it, anyway! Another interesting thing I noticed, is that Bergamot in Earl Grey, seemed to ease some tummy pain. Kind of odd, but it did make me feel a bit better. I’m not sure about that one. Kind of a puzzler…

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