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need to cut back on alcohol !
Old 03-14-2020, 06:20 AM   #1
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need to cut back on alcohol !

In my last year before retiring and 64yo. I find myself drinking way too much ... often killing a bottle, or more, of wine after work at night.
My elder parents are taking up much of my energy and the stress level I feel has a lot to do with it.

I really need to cut back on drinking and need some inspiration.
Any good advice? ... success stories?

Thx.
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Old 03-14-2020, 06:40 AM   #2
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AA has good info.
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Old 03-14-2020, 06:51 AM   #3
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Some of us reach a point at which cutting back is really difficult. Then it becomes a good choice to concentrate on just .... cutting it out. You can be scared or deny use of the "alcoholic" label or recognize that the slide into that can be a progressive one. There are many alternatives to AA if it doesn't fit you. Best of luck.
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Old 03-14-2020, 06:55 AM   #4
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If you research a bit on how much even a little alcohol does to your sleep, brain, liver and kidney it might scare you enough to take action.
https://www.healthline.com/health/al...ects-on-body#1
https://www.alcohol.org/effects/
https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/...l-body-effects
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Old 03-14-2020, 07:24 AM   #5
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Alcohol is a real demon in my family, has taken out both my mom and dad and badly affected several of my siblings, including me in the past.

"The Selfish Brain" by Robert Dupont is good. It'll help you better understand what is going on, and what the warning signs are.

There is recent research suggesting that any amount of drinking is bad for you. It's contrary to the old advice that one or two glasses of wine is fine, even healthy. Doesn't seem to be the case.

You mentioned your drinking is escalating hand in hand with stress levels. That's not surprising. I suppose this may be obvious to you already, but it would be healthier for you and your body if you found other ways to deal with that stress. I'm not sure what the best choices would be for you, since I don't know you personally, but physical activity is a good one, along with dietary changes. There is a lot of stress management material out there, too. Some of it addresses stressful thinking, which is a big part of stress. Maybe there is a different way to handle your elderly parents; I don't know.

There are some decent podcasts devoted to the subject (e.g., Recovery Elevator), which them don't necessarily take the AA approach, since AA doesn't fit for many people. They are abstinence-based, though, vs. trying to cut back. I've listened in the past, when I need a reminder of the dangers of alcohol/drugs or just a sense that I wasn't alone. It's actually a very common problem. It's just not talked about much, because of the shame and stigma involved.

Good luck. Alcohol ruins lives and kills a ton of people. Take care of yourself.
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Old 03-14-2020, 07:49 AM   #6
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Some good advice above. I just want to add that alcohol can make you physically dependent. A lot of people don't realize this. It's not just a character weakness, or a poor choice in response to stress. It's a chemical dependency.

Alcohol breaks down into compounds (sorry, forget the details) that the body needs. So when the body detects elevated levels, it stops making those compounds. Without the alcohol, bad things happen. This is the "DTs" withdrawal symptoms.

Long story short, if you can quit cold turkey, great. But if you find yourself getting withdrawal symptoms, seek help.
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Old 03-14-2020, 07:52 AM   #7
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Your problem seems to be stress, not alcohol.

Instead of using alcohol as a coping mechanism, try exercise. Stress responds even better to exercise. And of course it does the body better than pouring in a bottle of wine every night.

Or even more realistically, try both. A hard exercise session followed by a glass or two of vino. Best of both worlds.
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Old 03-14-2020, 07:59 AM   #8
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Alcohol made my son's life dramatically worse. He used it to deal with stress in law school. He tried "cutting back", but it never lasted.

Alcohol made my daughter's life dramatically worse. Her husband used it to deal with stress of a special needs child and losing a job in 2009. He tried "cutting back", but it never lasted.
Alcohol made my grandsons' lives dramatically worse. Their father used it to deal with stress of a special needs child and losing a job in 2009. He tried "cutting back", but it never lasted.

Both of them eventually discovered that "cutting back" didn't work. They cannot take a drop. For my son, AA was the key. For my SIL 6 months in a facility. Both are sober today.

BUT, their lives, and the lives of everyone around them (obviously including mine), are a great deal worse than they would have been had they stopped drinking earlier.

That's my experience.

-------------------------

Regarding AA. There have been multiple studies of effectiveness. Those studies are getting better. Here's what we know today:

“These results demonstrate A.A.’s effectiveness in helping people not only initiate but sustain abstinence and remission over the long term,” said the review’s lead author, John F. Kelly, a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and director of the Recovery Research Institute at Massachusetts General Hospital. “The fact that A.A. is free and so widely available is also good news.

“It’s the closest thing in public health we have to a free lunch.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/11/u...-evidence.html
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Old 03-14-2020, 08:34 AM   #9
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I can relate.

I drank too much after retiring. I was feeling like I'd lost something and my DF was dying. Jack and I had a late night relationship.

Took a while, DF passed and I worked with a shrink to deal with some old garbage I didn't know how to deal with on my own. A while passed and I figured out my job was a means to an end, not the END. So things were beginning to get better, but I was consuming alchohol and I didn't feel well.

Then a little health scare caused me to stop drinking for a while. After stopping, I feel too good to go back there. Yeah I could and it wouldn't be a problem now, but why? I do use some cannibis and find it has benefits to me. I've found biofeedback, meditation to replace what I thought alchohol did for me. Good luck to you.
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Old 03-14-2020, 08:46 AM   #10
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I did dry January and it was a really good reset for me. Alcohol had become a habit after a stressful day. It was much easier to do none at all than cut back- because after you've had one glass you just want a second. I slept better and felt more energetic in the morning. I did start back, but find myself drinking less often just knowing how much better I'll sleep.
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Old 03-14-2020, 09:06 AM   #11
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Cutting back typically does not work - be it alcohol or smoking. Quit - Just Do It.

Don't pretend that you do not have the mental power, yattee yatta.. .. sorry to be blunt.

Just quit if you care about your quality of life. No excuses.. Cold Turkey!!

Good luck.
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Old 03-14-2020, 09:12 AM   #12
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I worked with a fellow about 20 yrs ago.
He told me, his father retired and just sat around drinking more and more every day.
His father died, it was pretty sad.
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Old 03-14-2020, 09:18 AM   #13
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Good luck, after retirement I sometimes drank out of boredom but after awhile I felt so damn crummy I figured it was time to just quit. I slowly weaned myself off the juice without much difficulty. Occasionally, I'll have a beer after playing golf and it serves as a good reminder why I gave it up. Again good luck.
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Old 03-14-2020, 09:22 AM   #14
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Moderation. All things in moderation. DW reminds me of this mantra many nights....
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Old 03-14-2020, 09:35 AM   #15
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I worked with a fellow about 20 yrs ago.
He told me, his father retired and just sat around drinking more and more every day.
His father died, it was pretty sad.
Exactly the same with my own father. When he came to visit me one time I was astounded to see him going through almost a fifth of Scotch a day (without really showing any effect).
Then one day he simply decided not to do that any more and never had another drink the rest of his life (another ten years). Amazing will power. But he had done the same with smoking long before, so I wasn't all that surprised.
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Old 03-14-2020, 09:37 AM   #16
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As I approached retirement one of my concerns was the idea of "happy hour creep", which was my term for the happy hour moving from evening, to late afternoon, to mid-afternoon, to lunch etc...
I have been successful in disciplining myself to avoid starting before 5:00, and usually, now that we are in Daylight Time, more like 6 pr 6:30.

I absolutely agree with the idea that, as a stress reliever, exercise is the best.
Good luck moving forward.
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Old 03-14-2020, 09:38 AM   #17
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OP--I am sorry you are going through this. Stress appears to be the biggest factor. Are there family members who can help with your parents situation? Or outside care givers? You don't mention what it is that is happening between your folks and you that is so energy sucking (and you don't need too), but please take care of yourself.
Exercise is great for stress, so is meditation. See a therapist, if needed.
Alcohol is not the answer, as you already know. AA may help, and may offer up some socialization and new friendships.
Peace to you. Take care.
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Old 03-14-2020, 09:56 AM   #18
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Some good advice above. I just want to add that alcohol can make you physically dependent. A lot of people don't realize this. It's not just a character weakness, or a poor choice in response to stress. It's a chemical dependency..
+1

Cutting back will not work, go to zero as soon as you can.
Donate your stash of wine/liquor to your friends, and for good measure pour a few bottles down the toilet for therapeutic benefit.

It might be rough for a week but you will be fine afterwards, and feel so much better.
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Old 03-14-2020, 11:17 AM   #19
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I was never a heavy smoker, but I smoked....then, in 1976, I figured it was detrimental to my running.....tossed a half full pack and a lighter into the trash can next to my desk.

Friday afternoon our sales group went across the road to the pub.....guy offered me a cigarette. I said "I don't smoke"......not "I'm trying to quit".

Never had one since.
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Old 03-14-2020, 02:03 PM   #20
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I think you have a drinking problem, not a stress problem. I was an alcoholic or dependent on alcohol for over 40 years. During most of that stretch I would limit myself to one beer per day. For about 2 years when I was facing stress from a job, I would be drinking 4-6 beers per night. And I would binge drink starting in college.

I quit alcohol entirely a few years ago, and still have urges, but manage to suppress them with exercise or drinking ice water which gives a similar feeling as a cold frosty.

Alcoholism runs in my family, and my mother was a falling down drunk for about 7 years. I remember the times when I got home from high school and I would disable the car by pulling the ignition wire, to prevent her from driving while drunk. She would change completely from this calm rational woman into a demon. She physically attacked me, called me a creep while drunk. It still hurts to this day. But I have forgiven her.

I do not blame her for starting to drink. It is what it is. She was afraid to admit that she had a problem, and afraid to ask for help. That's part of the reason why it went on for so long. And I didn't press the situation, as a son should have done. I tried to escape it.

When I was drinking, I felt like I was trapped in a box and there was no way out. Alcohol would keep me company in the box. At the time, I didn't realize that the box was my own creation.

Do whatever you have to do to climb out of your box. Confront your parents on why you have wound up being their caretaker. No parent should automatically expect their child to become their caretaker during their old age. Seek out support groups for people in your situation. Talk to others about your situation.

It can be hard to make changes. But it sure beats the alternative.
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