After years on end of alcohol abuse and failed AA attempts, I finally went to my Psychiatrist and asked about medications to help curb my alcohol cravings. He had a list waiting, probably knowing I would ask at some point.
I finally settled on a select list to try at different times depending on their effects. Antabuse being the most horrifying idea. Instead, I weaned myself in on less threatening meds like Naltrexone, for one. Which was supposed to stop my cravings the minute I took a sip of alcohol. It cuts off the pleasure centers in the brain that are activated while drinking. It worked well for beer, but it couldn’t keep up with venom from a bottle of Gin. I drank right through it. Months later after that failed, I tried something else and the name is escaping me at the moment. It was also supposed to curb your appetite for alcohol. It obviously didn’t work either.
So, those failed. So, what did I do? I gave up and continued on drinking. Except this time, I went at it harder than ever before.
The hiding became its own beast. Years later, I got sick enough of throwing out my bottles of gin, hidden in huge storage bins, in apartment complex trash cans…other people’s apartment complexes. The hiding of gin and beer became too much of a task for me, and after countless clean ups of walk-in closets, pantries and cupboards full, I decided enough was enough. I was sick at this point. Really sick. I was no longer drinking for fun, I was drinking because I had to. And that loss of control started with my very first drink when I was 14 when I blacked out on my first experimentation.
But the real loss of control many years later, was what was truly scary. Even though I was pickled through and through, I could still feel my body literally shutting down. It was 10x worse than it sounds, but I will spare you the details. I was desperate, so I returned to my psych in tears, shaking. I said I needed something severe…something that will stop me long enough to get back into the rooms of AA and to really give myself a shot.
He prescribed me Antabuse. It was my very last resort. It’s a medication where when taken, if you drink on this (even a sip of alcohol), you become violently ill. Throwing up, heat flashes and rushes, shaking, cold sweats, etc. It can even cause death if not properly used. It was enough to scare me straight for a month and a half and I have my roommate at the time to thank for that. I didn’t trust myself, so I had her administer the drug every night.
Now, even when you have stopped taking this drug, it still stays in your system up to two weeks after, so you still cannot drink. I was so sensitive to this drug, that I had to use non-alcoholic body wash products, lotions, perfumes, etc… I couldn’t eat mustard. I couldn’t have vinegar. I couldn’t use regular mouth wash. You would be so surprised to know what products have alcohol in them! The numbers are astounding!
Now, as I said, I only lasted a month and a half and ended up spinning wildly out of control into a severe mania spell that lasted months. So, that drug wasn’t the end all be all, either.
No drug is the magic pill for ‘curing’ alcoholism. It is a disease that lays dormant like embers deep within at all times, regardless if you are sober or not…just waiting to strike and set your own personal hell ‘aflame. There is no cure in my opinion. There is only continued recovery and continued care. Relentless, persistent and courageous steps, put into action, that keeps you from the next bottle day in and day out. It is a day-to-day recovery and every morning I wake up I have to remind myself that it truly is just for this one day. I cannot truly wake up out of hell without some serious back-breaking and mind-bending work on my part…the deepest of soul searching and washing of the decay from confusion and of the self-hatred that poisoned my mind.
I have rehab, AA, IOP, close friends and this blog to thank for my recovery. And myself. We cannot forget ourselves in these equations for recovery, even if your equation may be different than mine. You are key. Hell, you are the answer for that matter.
YOU are the magic pill.