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wundayatta's avatar

What is sliding into dependency on alcohol or other substances like?

Asked by wundayatta (58571points) May 5th, 2011

I would like to know your experience with this. How does the dependency progress? Is it gradual? Just a drink before dinner occasionally and then it works up to a drink every day and then two drinks every day?

How did you figure out you were dependent? Looking back, how far back do you think you became dependent? Did you ever figure out what pain you were using the substance to medicate for?

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6 Answers

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

It began in college for me. It was the first time I was away from home, and the drinking age was 18 in my state at the time. I could march into any liquor store and by a bottle of anything.

It’s what the liquor gave me that was so seductive: warm oblivion. I’d spent all my formative years being bullied for being gay, and the accumulated pain had no outlet. Alcohol became the anesthetic so that I didn’t care about that pain. I could forget it for awhile. Never mind that I woke up with physical pain and found that the emotional pain was unabated. The few hours of escape was worth it, or so I thought.

At some point around age 20, I began to drink daily to sleep. A shot of something before bed would relax me. Then the daily drinking took a serious turn, and I began to use it to escape from the stress I allowed myself to feel due to my repressed sexuality.

I spent about 15 long years after that alternating between bouts of light and heavy drinking. Finally, I faced my deepest fear and came out of the closet. I had always thought that if I could manage that, then I wouldn’t have to drink anymore. Imagine my surprise when I discovered I was dependent on alcohol.

About 5 months after beginning the coming out process, I discovered a 12 step program, and I’m happy to report today that I’ve been sober for 12 years. For me, working the program has given me freedom from the fears that once plagued me. I sleep at night, and I’m relatively sane most days.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

My experience is with prescription pain meds. At first I was anxious and excited for relief then I progressed to sliding into relief when I felt irritable or lazy to put with stuff or wait for sleep and eventually the pain meds seemed to increase my pain exponentially if I didn’t take more and more of them. I realized I was in trouble when a boss of mine threatened my job if I didn’t find a way to un sloppy myself. I also realized trading and sharing pills with others was shady, I had become shady.

Hurrah acupuncture! It alleviated the pain and got me off the meds too.

Berserker's avatar

I’ve been familiar with drinking for a long time, but didn’t become dependent to booze for a while. I just drank for fun, and sometimes even opted out. I obviously didn’t need it.

My problem began pretty abruptly, started drinking one night, without the intention of having fun. In fact I kind of got drunk by accident. It was a particularly bad day, but I wasn’t using the alcohol to escape. In a frame of mind where I wasn’t looking for fun though, I found that I liked the whole comfort issue.
I don’t drink to forget though, I drink because when I’m drunk, everything seems to matter and things have worth, at least in my mind. I’m very active and aware when I drink, and am careful to maintain the level of intoxication to a degree where I’m able to do my things. Of course, I’ll get more drunk as the hours pass, but I’m a distance runner, so I’ve learned to adapt to it and go with it, to stretch out the moments of ’‘worth’’, and they get better and better. That took a bit of a while to do, control my intoxication, that is. This is a significant part of my dependency and how it ’‘evolved’’, for lack of better word.

Well it’s hard to explain, I can’t quite do it well. Anyways, while it all started abruptly, there were many gradual changes in the last two years that seem to have dragged me further and further down the spiral, especially in how I view and interpret things.
Currently, I pretty much only exist to drink, and if I really was all nihilist or jaded or wtv before to think that booze was the only thing that gave anything importance, it’s probbaly made it worse by now.
And goddammit I keep restarting this post and over and I can’t explain it. I thought it would be easy actually. I know what it’s like to slide into dependency and how I feel and why and crap, but it won’t come out in words. Or maybe I just think I know, based on what I’ve experienced and am experiencing. See if I was drunk now, (workin on it lawl) things would slide together, and I’d be a little more willing to express things, and that always makes it easier for me. But it’s not happening now haha.

So it’s like, I started drinking heavily because it gave me a sense of worth, and turns the negative into something insignificant. I liked that so I kept at it. Alcohol may accommodate your current mood, but only for a while. Even on shitty days I end up being happy later on, or at least a semblance thereof that seems good enough for me. I know it’s bullshit, but it feels real, so I keep at it. I know I need to get help, but it seems inconceivable to me right now to not drink. That’s the best I can explain for now lol.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Symbeline. You did well. I’m reading it for the 3rd time, and I usually don’t read long posts even once….maybe…would AA help? Like it did for @hawaii_jake

Berserker's avatar

I’ve been meaning to check them out yeah, but have yet to make any real move of action. :/

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, from what I know, you’ve taken the first step…

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