Dealing with the Effects of Alcoholism

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Dealing with the Effects of Alcoholism

Postby michmjon » Sat Feb 25, 2017 5:20 am

I've had sleep disorders caused by an improperly diagnosed condition that went undetected for almost twelve years. I finally realized that something had to be done about this condition shortly after I stopped drinking and was sent to a sleep specialist by my doctor. The first question the sleep specialist asked me was if I drank alcohol and how much. I told him I was any where from a pint to a quart a day vodka drinker but had stopped drinking a few weeks earlier. Immediately he told me that was a BIG cause of my sleep disorder. Part of the reason I started to drink more heavily was so I could get to sleep- but the more I drank , the more I needed to drink to get to sleep and within a two year period I went from a couple drinks after coming home from work to alcoholism. Nine months later I am still dealing with sleep issues but am pretty much back to the stage before my heavy drinking- 2-3 hours of sleep a night.

Another issue I've been trying to tackle is weight gain. When I started drinking heavily all exercise stopped. I ate nothing but crap and in that two years I put on 50 pounds. That worsened chronic back pain I've had since my mid-30's. This is probably the toughest health issue I've been dealing with- trying to lose this weight. I've dropped 15 pounds in the last couple months but it's been hard. No more junk food. I cut out all red meat-strictly fish, chicken and turkey now and then only as a flavoring and not a main course. I try to get exercise but with severe arthritis in my lower back this is a problem.

The drinking also caused me to get a fatty liver and kidney damage (which I already had from the undiagnosed medical condition but the alcohol made worse). My doctor told me I probably shortened my life span by ten years just from that heavy drinking for two years.

I am just curious about how others in this forum are dealing with health issues caused by drinking... In my home group practically everyone has severe health issues- heavy smokers, shot livers- you name it. It seems that the most common issue for most is sleep disorders caused by drinking. The meds (non-narcotic) help me somewhat, but leave me groggy most of the day - I just plain have to force myself into activity every single day.
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Re: Dealing with the Effects of Alcoholism

Postby Noels » Sat Feb 25, 2017 12:32 pm

Meditation brother. Start meditating and you'll have endless energy even when you don't get much sleep :D
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Re: Dealing with the Effects of Alcoholism

Postby PaigeB » Sun Feb 26, 2017 11:31 am

Definitely meditation or medication!

Just google guided meditation - there are literally 1000's. Start somewhere. Start with 2 to 5 minutes. You will NOT be good at it. And here's a nugget of truth... even Tibetan Monks are unable to completely shut off the mind.

I started with a worded meditation... like I memorized "How it Works" (thru the ABC's) and repeated that over and over until I fell asleep. Then I shortened my words to like the Serenity Prayer then try to just "listen" to my mind and try to slow those thoughts... or just go with a story line about walking on the beach and studying a rock then the horizon...

To each his own on this one. Meditation is intensely personal and hard to explain to others but there are many "teachers" out there and I know you will find one or a few!
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Re: Dealing with the Effects of Alcoholism

Postby Noels » Sun Feb 26, 2017 1:56 pm

Brandon Bays have a guided meditation called "The Healing Sands". I fall asleep on that one every time :D Easy peezy :D

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Re: Dealing with the Effects of Alcoholism

Postby avaneesh912 » Sun Feb 26, 2017 2:54 pm

If the mind will filled with resentments meditation will not work. So, if i am rolling and tossing, its a possibility that i am not letting go off something.
Show him, from your own experience, how the peculiar mental condition surrounding that first drink prevents normal functioning of the will power (Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)
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Re: Dealing with the Effects of Alcoholism

Postby Noels » Sun Feb 26, 2017 4:46 pm

:D or ..... it could be a period of spiritual awakening or coming to terms with psychic gifts. Intuition will tell but the best way to cope with sleeplessness is to not fight it. Go with the flow, accept and as we love to say in AA ... "this too shall pass" :D
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Re: Dealing with the Effects of Alcoholism

Postby tomsteve » Tue Feb 28, 2017 9:37 am

although I drank for many years, the health effects weren't there. so I thought.
then 13 months in the real health effect hit- through all my life I loved being outdoors. the 10 years prior I worked outside. yet never really did anything to protect myself from the sun. I was diagnosed stage 3 metastatic melanoma. a major effect of my alcoholism.
how I dealt with the 3+ year fight including a clinical trial, 2 rounds of chemo, 6 surgeries to carve out the cancer, uncounted PET and Ct scans, mri's, blood draws and every test short of a pregnancy test
was to let God and the doctors do what they do best and keep my nose out of it.

I start getting frustrated with the side effects, I start at step 1- theres quite a bit im powerless over and if I allow it to control me, my life will become unmanageable. I turn it back over. then look at why im frustrated- usually because im being selfish and a wee bit of self pity because I wanna do what I wanna do and cant do what I wanna do when I wanna do it because the side effects are sayin,"nope, not today".
doesn't take me long to get back on track.
and acceptance. that helps,too.
still amazed how,before the clinical trial and chemo, I had to have all them fancy tests to see iffen my innards were functioning good. pretty wild how everything in the was workin as it should after all the abuse I gave it.
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Re: Dealing with the Effects of Alcoholism

Postby clouds » Tue Feb 28, 2017 10:05 am

avaneesh912 wrote:If the mind will filled with resentments meditation will not work. So, if i am rolling and tossing, its a possibility that i am not letting go off something.


Resentment, or as tomsteve mentioned, a bit of selfpity and wanting things to be different than they are, which for me, usually adds up to the same thing, a resentment, any of those will keep my mind whirling too fast and unable to settle down.

Then there are the night fears. There is just something about being awake at 4:00 in the morning, its not so nice!

Letting go, remembering the promises, and saying the prayer on removing fear page 68 have helped me.
Of course it all depends on what is causing a lack of sleep.

Some things to avoid:

Bright lights should be dimmed an hour before bed.
Getting off the screens and devices an hour before retiring.
Overeating isn't so good.
Boring, undramatic, old novels area great help.
Cutting down on coffee, tea,basically caffinated anything in the afternoons.

Most of all:
Be sure to do the section on page 86 that begins "When we retire at night..."
Then sleep in good conscience and peace of mind. =biggrin
" Burn the idea into the consciousness of every man that he can get well regardless of anyone. The only condition is that he trust in God and clean house." page 98 A.A.
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Re: Dealing with the Effects of Alcoholism

Postby ezdzit247 » Tue Feb 28, 2017 6:32 pm

Brandon Bays have a guided meditation called "The Healing Sands". I fall asleep on that one every time :D Easy peezy :D


I agree. Directed meditation tapes produce phenomenal results with minimal effort. I began using a DM by Barrie Konicov called "Self Healing" when I was about 7 years sober and have continued to use it for "spiritual maintenance" for about 32 years now. It's amazing,
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Re: Dealing with the Effects of Alcoholism

Postby michmjon » Tue Feb 28, 2017 6:54 pm

Noels wrote:Meditation brother. Start meditating and you'll have endless energy even when you don't get much sleep :D
Mwah xxx


Meditation is something I practice every night for about a half hour before I hit the sack. The computer gets stashed away, the TV gets turned off, I light a couple candles, have a cup of chamomile tea then sit in my recliner and just empty my mind- the only thing I concentrate on is my breathing and I use what is called the "circular breathing technique." It really calms me down but does little to nothing as far as helping me sleep... I hit the sack, doze off and BAM! A half hour later I'm wide awake. Nothing particular going through my mind- calm, cool and collected- just wide awake. That's the result of my sleep disorder. I rarely, if ever, enter into REM sleep until at some point, at least once a week, my brain just says "You are going to sleep now. Right now. I don't care if you're up on a ladder ten feet in the air or driving your car. You are going to sleep. NOW!" Then I crash for 12-15 hours.

Fun, huh? :roll:
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Re: Dealing with the Effects of Alcoholism

Postby Noels » Wed Mar 01, 2017 9:38 am

Shame man Mitch. I feel for you buddy but look at the bright side - at least you are able to "catch up" once a week. The best I can say is to go according to your body clock and make peace with it as I doubt if fighting it is going to help. It will probably just make you very unhappy.
Good luck my friend,
mwah xxx
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Re: Dealing with the Effects of Alcoholism

Postby Blue Moon » Sun Mar 05, 2017 11:15 pm

I agree that meditation is very good, if my sleep disorder is a psychological (AKA emotional) one. That being said ...

Threads like this annoy me. Not the OP, but the well-meaning yet ill-informed responses they tend to get.

A particular form of sleep disorder causes weight gain, which will worsen the sleep disorder... a vicious circle. That's the first point, but a crucial one that the weight-gain may be a symptom of a problem other than alcoholism, and therefore a possible clue to what the OP didn't choose to share ... what disorder?

Yes it's vitally important to get off the booze and recover from alcoholism, which means dealing with resentments etc. That's what we're here to help with.

But nobody else here seems to be pointing out: a sleep disorder may be physical, not psychological. You don't go into details, but if >50lb overweight I'm guessing we're talking about sleep apnea. If so, there is no amount of 4th Step, meditation, or medication, that can possibly treat the condition. What's needed for apnea is to address the real symptom ... a Physically Blocked Airway!!

So if you want specific answers to something, it's important to ask specifics in the question. But in the meantime, forget what well-meaning AAs are telling you about anything other than alcoholism. Go to your sleep doctor, and do what they tell you to do about your sleep problem. Come to us and do what we tell you to do about your alcoholism. Don't confuse the two - we're not here to fix your sleep problem, and the sleep doctor isn't there to fix your alcoholism.

But if you do address both conditions simultaneously, there's no reason to believe you cannot one day have a peaceful sober slumber.
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Re: Dealing with the Effects of Alcoholism

Postby Noels » Sun Mar 05, 2017 11:32 pm

Pfew!!! Ouch! thanks Doctor Blue and Good morning :D :D :D Interesting stuff indeed. What if our intention was purely to share what works for us when we cant sleep and to let Mitch know that he's not alone?

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Re: Dealing with the Effects of Alcoholism

Postby Blue Moon » Mon Mar 06, 2017 1:33 pm

Noels wrote:Pfew!!! Ouch! thanks Doctor Blue and Good morning :D :D :D Interesting stuff indeed. What if our intention was purely to share what works for us when we cant sleep and to let Mitch know that he's not alone?

Mwah xxx


Of course, sharing is fine and to be encouraged. It should just come with some caveats, particularly when we're dealing with "outside issues". Otherwise, if I'm doing everything that you tell me yet still feeling crap, I may be left feeling that I must not be doing it right... or maybe that my case is different (which is basically what got me alcoholic in the first place). Cue not doing anything at all for my alcoholism because an AA meeting's solution for other problem didn't work.
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