1. Alan has completed the new Pain Recovery Program. To read or share it, use this updated link: https://www.tmswiki.org/forum/painrecovery/
    Dismiss Notice

Self medicating with alcohol

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by mirepoix, Oct 9, 2016.

  1. mirepoix

    mirepoix Peer Supporter

    I have struggled with chronic pain issues on and off for about 7 years. 2 of those years were really bad. That was the time my pain became debilitating and I became hopeless. I lost all joy in life and just wanted it to be over.

    In addition to chronic pain I've struggled with drug and alcohol abuse (as a way of coping with lifelong struggle against major depression and anxiety.) I became a heroin addict for two years, and actually quit drugs shortly before my pain got started (7 1/2 years ago.)

    Basically, I believe I've conditioned myself to associate struggling against addiction with flare ups of pain. I'm currently attempting to give up alcohol entirely (because I am unable to drink moderately) and I'm experiencing bad pain flare ups that I thought were behind me. I thought I had beaten all that. I thought I was a success story, and for a while I was.

    The pain can be so viscious. Like being stabbed or electrocuted. A really hateful feeling of malice like my body is trying to hurt me bad. Nothing I can do but collapse against the spasm in lower back and hope it will settle down. It usually does after a little while and I can go back about my business. But it is a constant threat and I do not feel safe.

    I feel like I have to choose between giving into my alcoholism or facing the wrath of my subconscious as I attempt to quit. It is so demoralizing and I just feel defeated either way.

    I should also mention that I'm in a stressful time currently in unrelated ways (laid off from job, possibly losing health insurance, sudden substantial rent increase, difficult personal relationships, etc.)

    I am just faking it with everyone and pretending I'm ok and I have no one to talk to as I fall apart inside. I don't want anyone in my life to know how weak I am so I hide my pain.

    Could use some support.
    Bodhigirl likes this.
  2. Ryan

    Ryan Well known member

    Hang in there buddy, there is hope no matter how bad it seems. Your real self is expressing itself because you have been hiding behind a wall. Your healing is beginning and you have found your grail.
    Your mind is divided as to what you want deep down and putting on a front to the world. Unite your mind and try to change your perception. Life is good, its just a matter of how you see your situation. Where we think we should be life and where you are now equals tension.

    Addiction is essentially tms, its obsessing by means of outside stimulus to hide your emotions, fear being at the root of it. Ulitamately it is the separation you feel from yourself and the world. Keep reading books and know that your symptoms moving and increasing is a good sign. Hang in there I believe in you, its time to start believing in yourself. Nothing is wrong with your mind or body, its reacting to repressed emotions. Out of great times of what you think is despair is when you will come out a better person in the end, a warrier. We are what we believe, let me know if I can help you in any other way, goodluck.

    brendan537, Steve J., Ines and 4 others like this.
  3. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, mirepoix. I do hope you will try to stop drinking. If you can't slow it down and then stop it, you could consider joining Alcoholics Anonymous. It helped two of my best friends to stop drinking and they are now free of the addiction and happily married (not to each other). You can also find some good videos on Youtube about stopping drinking.

    I think you need to do some soul-searching about why you relied on heroin and continue to drink. There are probably some strong repressed emotions involved. They can affect a person's self-esteem and that can cause TMS emotional pain.

    You might start the Structured Educational Program, free in the subforum of this web site, that helps in discovering repressed emotions and how to deal with them.
    Ines likes this.
  4. Tennis Tom

    Tennis Tom Beloved Grand Eagle

    Mirepoix, sorry to hear about your problems, your list of woes certainly contributes to your TMS pain volume control. Although a couple of drinks can lubricate the social environment and bring some relaxation with a nice dinner after a long day, overall, alcohol is a depressant. So, booze isn't going to help lift your spirits--why do they call alcohol "spirits" anyhow?

    Considering all you've been through, and currently going through, you sound amazingly "together"--like you said, you are "faking" it, but very well. You write very well, are you a professional writer?

    It would also be helpful if you filled out your bio or story, I've found folks who do that get out of here faster, seem to have more of a commitment to "healing".

    Last edited: Oct 10, 2016
    Boston Redsox, Ines and Ellen like this.
  5. mirepoix

    mirepoix Peer Supporter

    Thank you for the encouragement, it means a lot to me. I have thought of your words over the past week.

    I've noticed that often my flare ups happen when I'm trying to baby myself. For example, I went and got a back massage. Flare up. Did some stretching and old PT exercises from last year. Flare up. Everytime I stop to think "is my lower back starting to tighten up? Is it going to shoot pain through me suddenly?" Then it becomes a self fulfilling prophesy and I have to lie down a while.

    This morning at dawn I said fuck it and went surfing (something I've avoided for weeks because of fear of pain). It was fine. I got a ltttle scared and didn't stay out very long but my body worked and I got some fun waves. I have missed it so much. Today I am sitting around worrying that I will have to pay for that (maybe I hurt myself but it will be a delayed reaction). That sort of thing.

    I'm trying hard. I'm trying not to worry and to be outcome independent. I am so scared of others seeing my pain and weakness. I am worried my girlfriend will find out and not want me anymore because I'm damaged. It is hard to hide it around her all the time.

    Anyway, thanks for the support. I appreciate it.
    Shells likes this.
  6. mirepoix

    mirepoix Peer Supporter

    Thank you for your reply. I am not a writer, but thanks for the compliment.

    I will fill out my bio some. I find that speaking with others directly like this helps more than just reading. Important to be heard as well as to hear. It can feel very lonely otherwise.

    I have accepted that my life is better without alcohol entirely. I wish I could have just a few here and there with friends during a nice dinner. But I know myself and I know that it turns into a bottle of bourbon a day alone lying in bed.

    It is sad for me, because without alcohol or drugs I have to feel the full weight of my emotions. So far I have not had a drink for 13 days. I hope I can keep my pain under control and break free from it. It can be very discouraging.
    Tennis Tom likes this.
  7. Tennis Tom

    Tennis Tom Beloved Grand Eagle

    Stop worrying about a "delayed reaction"! TMS theory says unless it's infection, fracture, trauma, etc., to just do it. If you have a real injury, you know it right then and there--or are passed out from shock and and wake up in the ER with no recollection. If you went surfing, and didn't get bit by a shark, or hit in the head by your board, you need to stop worrying about a "delayed reaction". You may be sore, but that is normal.
  8. Bodhigirl

    Bodhigirl Well known member

    Yes, there is a ton of help here!
    I quit drinking over 30 years ago and the first thing that came up was back, neck, shoulder pain. I had wonderful support from 12 step programs, lots of folks who had encountered "imaginary" pain that was framed back then as "the disease wanting medicating" -- which helped tremendously at the beginning.

    As someone else said, "hang in there."

    More importantly, tell people the truth about your struggles. We have a saying in support groups that "You're only as sick as your secrets" - so don't keep secrets and you get to get well. TMS is so much about the unconscious process of keeping our anger and grief, anxiety and shame from the light of day and so the body cries the tears that we don't cry.

    I had signed on this morning to share about me, and wound up caring about you. That's sort of how support groups work. We all are kind to each other, and eventually learn to be kind to ourselves. It's a day by day process but all the help in the world is here for you, when you reach out for it and tell us, and others, the truth of your feelings - fleeting as feelings may be.

    For me, the pain was my infant self, terrified at my mom getting sick and my angry dad yelling at me. I was frozen in fear. Over the years of recovery, I have "defrosted" and come to give that baby self the love and care she needs.

    Whatever is frozen within your body - anger, resentment, fear, grief - my wish for you is that you share it openly with us. We will care about you till you can care better for yourself. Not alone, but with all of us. It's what we call a "we" thing. Not an "I, me" thing.

    With a hug and warm wishes,
    Shells, TG957, brendan537 and 2 others like this.
  9. mirepoix

    mirepoix Peer Supporter

    Thank you so much for this response. I really appreciate it. It's easy to feel so alone as if no one else had ever suffered the same pain when I'm keeping everything inside. It's nice to hear that other people understand and that my pain is as common as dirt. It is a comfort to not be unique in this way. Even if I can't control my pain it feels like it is less powerful when I know lots of people feel it too.

    I have managed to stay sober so far and today that makes one month. I have started attending meetings sporadically but I am unsure whether I am going to get a sponsor and work steps or just sort of go along like I have been.
    Shells and brendan537 like this.
  10. brendan537

    brendan537 Peer Supporter

    Thank you for being so honest. I am also an alcoholic/ drug addict. My drug of choice was heroin. I tried every which way to get sober. It took me 5 years, I tried just drinking, doing coke, sex, gambling, shopping all of these behaviors eventually led me back to a further and worse relapse leaving me suicidal and my pain through the roof. Again I am only speaking from personal experience but as soon as I started working the steps I found relief from the constant restless, irritable and discontent mind. I found it surprising that as soon as I started to treat my disease my pain would go down. I would highly recommend doing the steps if you want to have a happy life. Alcoholism and drug addiction have nothing to do with alcohol and drugs it is a disease of the mind, body and spirit. Alcohol and drugs are a symptom of our disease these are the things we use to give us that " ahhhhhhhhh" feeling and get us out of our restless, irritable and discontent selves in that moment. Pain and alcoholism I believe derive from the same thing which would be fear. Fear of other peoples opinions. Fear of the unknown. Fear of not having control. Fear or abandonment. I can go on and on. God willing I will have 18 months sober from everything in a few days and as long as I stay on this path all will be well. I wish you the best of luck my friend.
    Shells, readytoheal, MrRage and 3 others like this.
  11. Solange

    Solange Well known member

    If you have had success once then you can have it again. Many people have setbacks but it does not mean they have failed forever or that they will not succeed in the future. I am proof of this. I do continue to have some setbacks but I get past them and my life is pretty good now. Yours will be too.
    Today I read in a newspaper about mind tricks of successful top athletes. They tell themselves positive statements, so far so ordinary, but they do this in a particular way. Instead of saying, I play a fantastic backhand in tennis, they use their name and say Solange, you play a fantastic backhand in tennis. Apparently this approach takes root better in your brain. Well who knows? It can't hurt to try doing this when you tell yourself that you WILL get better.
    I have been through all aspects of TMS recovery, attributing my pain to many different aspects of my life at different times and dealing with issues as I became aware of them. So many issues! So much crippling pain....
    Maybe the final two issues which I came to see were causing my pain and emotional distress were my constant desire to micromanage my life (I still battle this) and the realisation that I never took any time to do nice stuff for myself as I was too busy doing it for everyone else, just as I had been brought up to do. I think I subconsciously got furiously angry about this lack of joy in my life. I was existing, not living. Do lots more surfing, do things that bring you joy and determine to do them even if they bring pain. It is better to do what you enjoy and be in pain than not do what you enjoy and still be in pain.
    I wish you so much success. Be kind to yourself.
  12. Tennis Tom

    Tennis Tom Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Solange,

    I was going to press the "Like" button for your very encouraging post, but then I saw the "tennis" reference and had to do more. I'm going to try your tip later today, in a season opening mixer down in the desert. My back-hand is really good!--if only I could RUN! Because I can't run, every aspect of my game has had to gotten better to compensate for my imobility--I used to be really fast.

    So probably, if I COULD run, the scores would be the same, and my technique would have remained mediocre. When I'm hitting my BH today, I will be telling myself that "My BH looks like Wawrinka's, Gasquets, Roger's, Dudi's, Almagro's--who all have great looking one handed BH's. Thanks for the tip! Are you a player?
  13. Solange

    Solange Well known member

    Hi Tom, I am not a tennis player, in fact I picked the example precisely because it did not describe me! I guess there has to be a limit to how far positive affirmations can go but I really think there is something in the idea of talking yourself up and if a simple trick like using your own name makes it more effective then it's got to be worth giving it a go. I have used positive self -talk in my own recovery to good effect.
    It's a shame it won't make you run any faster round the court (if only!) but it might just give you the edge in other areas. On the subject of tennis, you might try reading 'Winning Ugly' by Brad Gilbert if you haven't already done so, he has positive mindset in oodles.
    Good luck with the match!
    Tennis Tom likes this.
  14. Tennis Tom

    Tennis Tom Beloved Grand Eagle

    Thank you! I read his book a long time ago, and have been meaning to dig it out and read it again. thanks for the encouragement. He lives in my area and saw him in the stands at a Challenger recently in Tiburon, inspecting the up and coming players. Saw him years ago playing Andre Agassi in SF, when he was towards the end of his career and Andre was beginning. They hooked-up later and Brad became his coach and Andre and Steffi bought a house in SoMarin to be nearby Brad. I'll dig his book out of my tennis book box when I get back to NorCal.

  15. Bodhigirl

    Bodhigirl Well known member

    Oh, gosh, I am SO HAPPY FOR YOU! You made my day reading this.
    I had logged on because I was feeling stress... yeah, even with nearly 31 years of sobriety, I feel the same feelings - only now I know that my body can be hurt if I keep them in.
    I have so much going on right now.
    Preparing for a home remodel. I know it will be stressful and I know I will love the results and get to live with them in my forever home. I have a vision for aging that I never had before and that is thrilling to me.
    With TMS recovery, I am able to spot my anxiety so quickly. I hear myself more clearly than ever before. My yoga and pelvic floor meditations awaken my soul, not just stretch tight muscles.

    The lower back and tailbone area are, in kundalini yoga, "she who is coiled" - the life force energy that, if we squelch it with drugs, alcohol, sex, food, pain symptoms - well, it has nowhere to go but to our brains to cut off the oxygen that generates the pain. When we let her rise up our spine, when we feel and embrace our feelings and let them pass like weather, the pain in optional.

    Today is the anniversary of my best friend's death last year. Synchronistically, someone sent me a little video on Facebook of donkeys grieving the death of one of their herd. I heard their cries and began to tear up and instead of turning it off or getting angry, I went to my two dogs and held them and just sobbed. Probably averted another migraine with my tears.

    Grateful to be sober and abstinent from distraction that causes harm. Grateful for all the mentoring my fellows have given me here and in 12 step meetings for myriad addictions including how to run my business in a sober and loving fashion.

    Just plain grateful.

    brendan537, westb and Tennis Tom like this.
  16. MrRage

    MrRage Peer Supporter

    What brendan is describing is very true. When I was younger, I was an alcoholic for awhile and also smoked lots of marijuana. For me, my main drive to drink alcohol was to escape my deplorable state. After four or five drinks I'd start to feel relaxed and wanted to continue the feeling of contentment by drinking more. I've been in a few fights because of alcohol which is why I ultimately quit because my behavior was wild and unpredictable when I got blackout drunk and I'd be in an agonizing depression for days and days after getting really drunk.
    brendan537 and Tennis Tom like this.
  17. mike2014

    mike2014 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi All,

    Some of you may find this interesting.

    I received an email from Georgie Oldfield today, which mentions the importance of relationships on ones health and how 'disconnection' plays a pivotal role in addiction and alot of our health issues:

    Last edited: Nov 4, 2016
  18. ladyofthelake

    ladyofthelake Peer Supporter

    I quit drinking this year at the end of July.
    I had no idea you could develop a problem with alcohol in your late 30s after a decade of very occasional, responsible drinking. Alcoholism was "other people" and I was safe. But then... enter trauma, grief, anxiety attacks, pain and social drinking quickly became almost daily drinking. I have a very low alcohol tolerance so after 2 drinks I am an unfit mother...ouch, that hurt to admit that I was physically here with my kids but not present.
    I cut way back on drinking over the last year...because I just didn't want to have to give it up completely and actually that worked well as a path to quitting despite the naysayers. And then I took most of July off work and hiked, paddled, camped and birded (new addiction) with my kids and hardly drank at all. Then it just took one little regret about drinking a little too much one evening for me to decide to quit. I quit because I no longer wanted to drink, no other reason really worked. I had to realize I was not really capable of drinking in moderation, neither physically nor emotionally! By not drinking I've saved hundreds of dollars and lost 6 lbs!
    I would have never imagined a year ago or even two months ago that a whole week of evenings could go by without thinking about beer or wine but that is my actually reality now! I can't help but feel proud of myself. I had some really stressful situations and decisions since I quit drinking (because life) and it was hard not to drink at first but then I saw how I COULD be present with my fear and anxiety and anger. It took about 5-6 weeks to stop thinking about drinking. Actually I'm a little scared of alcohol now.
    My TMS pain didn't improve or worsen but quitting drinking has lead to personal growth and acceptance that is making it possible for me to actually see how TMS really works and I'm able to see results. The most helpful TMS resources for me is the Alan Gordon program. I'm verbal and auditory when it comes to expression and comprehension (odd for an introvert). I do journal some but I don't seem to be able to do daily journalling that feels meaningful. So I listened to the sessions he had with people...like several times because the first time I didn't get what he was saying. TMS recovery is counter-intuitive, I have to constantly remind myself to think psychological not physical. Ultimately I think everybody needs to find what works for them. I'm not a "read the book and the pain goes away person," the benefits my inner bully/scared child (same person I found out) gets from creating the pain is way too good for them.
    Anyway, I understand and hope the best for you.
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2016

Share This Page