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  • Quitting booze

    Any primal advice for quitting alcohol (for good)? This is coming from someone with a history of alcohol problems, who would like to avoid AA if possible (I've been there, it was overly religious and that doesn't work for me). I can control my drinking for a short period of time (a month, tops), and then it all goes down the shitter. Any advice? I'm afraid I can't do it and I'm having a hard time finding answers. Thanks
    "The mountains are calling and I must go."
    --John Muir


    "I don't know what's wrong with me, but I love this shit."
    --Tommy Caldwell


    ‎"Think like a geek. Eat like a hunter. Train like a fighter. Look like a model. Live beyond."
    --Hyperlithic

  • #2
    Hmm, this is possibly not good advice for someone in your situation, but I'll give it to you anyway. While I think quitting booze is a noble goal, there's always a bigger question of "why?" A glass of wine or (dare I say it and risk the attack of the grain haters) a beer really helps me calm down after a long day. My mom is a hardcore teetotaler and would tell me I need to consider why I am turning to alcohol, but I just think, God gave us the stuff for a reason. When I have a drink or two, I'm friendlier, I find socializing easier... I suppose it would be nice if I didn't need alcohol to feel that way, but I'm not going to beat myself up over the fact that a drink or two helps me relax.

    I think the more strides you make in purifying your diet, the better you will feel, the less you will NEED to drink to feel happy. But I also think quitting drinking altogether is a hard goal to reach, and might not be necessary. A lot of it is psychological-- i.e. if you think you need alcohol to relax, then you WILL need it. I think you would be better off trying to cut down your drinking than trying to quit entirely. That way if you want a glass of wine one night, you can give in and have one, whereas if you totally deny yourself any alcohol for a long time you might end up binging on it when you reach a point where you just can't take it anymore. Like I said, the whole thing is very psychological. I'm sure you've already done a good bit of introspection on why you drink, etc. but the more in tune with yourself you get, the better you will feel, the better you'll understand yourself and your cravings. If you set your goals too high, you might despair when you don't reach them. If you focus on cutting down, you'll notice your progress more, feel happier and more positive and better able to sustain your progress. Just my two cents.
    Last edited by 2ndChance; 03-24-2013, 04:43 PM.

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    • #3
      I quit completely and totally about 10 years ago. I didn't have a bad alcohol problem but it could have gone there. I drank about 3 drinks or so a day, like a few shots and a beer, or three shots, or three beers.

      What I did was say to myself, I'll quit drinking for a bit and see what happens.

      There were several months of flatness, the world was gray and I had a sense of complete boredom and numbness especially on weekends and evenings when I would have had my drinks.

      After that it was okay. I have always had liquor in the house and never had so much as a sip. But if you ask me, I'll tell you I'm not drinking for the moment.

      This is important I think. Not to build an imaginary future for yourself. The real wisdom of AA is the "day at a time" mantra, and of course the group camaraderie that makes it much easier to quit. (I have never attended a meeting but I read a book about AA.)

      So that's my advice. I've also quit pot with the exact same experience. I think that was more difficult than quitting alcohol for me. It's the "day at a time" thinking. You string one day together, then the next, and just see how it goes.

      Another thing that seems a total paradox is, it's better to say if you screw up and fall off the wagon "I'm human, that's okay, I'll try again" instead of shame and blame. People who succeed at this don't attack themselves when they screw up, but realize they're human, brush themselves off, and get back on the wagon.

      I never did fall off, not even once, but I know this to be true.

      Hope this helps.

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      • #4
        ^ Yeah, I actually did completely quit pot within the past two months. I honestly didn't even think about it, I just had this point where I was like, "this substance only has power over me because I let it have power over me," and after that I went from smoking once or twice a day to not smoking at all without even thinking about it.

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        • #5
          I stopped completely about 18 months ago and it was a slowly growing long term problem for me until I did. I didn't use AA--not the "joining" type and don't agree with the philosophy of "you are an addict for life" stuff.

          A book I got used off Amazon was quite helpful--"Sober for Good" which is interviews and accounts of how people quit using various methods. I got it for 50 cents and shipping for an older edition--I just checked and that is still an option so not a big investment to try it.

          I worked the Primal thing, ate some dried figs / fruit when I felt alcohol cravings, made herbal blends and kefir, did Crossfit / Yoga and hiking, and have felt (surprisingly) very little difficulty overall in quitting. I agree that sometimes
          the weekends are "flatter" as was mentioned above, but I would describe life now as more subtle and nuanced and I am happier than I have ever been.

          It is worth quitting to see how you feel. I suggest giving yourself maybe 6 months as a trial. Get the booze out of your system and try life without it. I have no interest in going back to drinking at this point even though I set myself a one year goal. That has long passed and yet I was so sure that when I said a year I would start drinking, at least socially again. I don't miss it and that is the biggest surprise of all. Good luck in your quest. . .
          Last edited by missblue; 03-24-2013, 06:38 PM.

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          • #6
            As far as books go, this book is amazing, it's what convinced me to quit drinking in September (lasted a couple months) and it's also just a deliciously fun read: Smashed: Story of a Drunken Girlhood: Koren Zailckas: 9780143036470: Amazon.com: Books

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            • #7
              Thanks for the advice guys. I think the one day at a time is the hardest part, you really wanna just say it's done forever and let that be that. What was the bit about the herbs/fruit and figs/etc when having cravings?
              "The mountains are calling and I must go."
              --John Muir


              "I don't know what's wrong with me, but I love this shit."
              --Tommy Caldwell


              ‎"Think like a geek. Eat like a hunter. Train like a fighter. Look like a model. Live beyond."
              --Hyperlithic

              Comment


              • #8
                I'm in a similar situation. I don't have a trouble quitting for a few weeks. Those periods are restful, productive, restorative. But they can also be a bit boring after about three weeks. When I try to sprinkle some drinking back in, well, the sprinkle becomes a firehose.

                In my case I've learned that I'm usually fine if I stick to beer. It's when Mr. Whisky shows up that I get into trouble. I've also learned to eat first. I'm not worried about whether I'm "addicted" or an "alcoholic". I just want to enjoy my life. I'm going on another dry spell in advance of small trip, when I'm sure I'll be drinking.

                So I guess I'm n=1'ing it with alcohol. It may come to having to give it up entirely. I hope not, as I enjoy downing a few with friends. But I can picture a life without booze. So.....

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                • #9
                  Quitting alcohol is tough. And now I'll start my paranoid riff on why. Drugs like LSD, most types of 'speed,' etc., make you think, create, do stuff. For some they are addictive; for many they aren't. Drugs like pot and alcohol numb your brain and get you to sit around doing nothing except watching TV and/or (mostly a male thing) get into stupid fights. The govt doesn't want you to think, so alcohol is legal and sooooo easy to find and very cheap - there's also the whole money thing as in taxes, etc. Pot is slowly becoming acceptable with some states either having medical or now a couple of states having recreational use legal.

                  There is a flaw in my logic in that if the govt really wanted us totally numb, they'd make heroin legal. But they want us numb, but able to work and produce. That's my rationale, anyway. And truth be told, I probably got it in my youth from some heavy revvy like Abbie Hoffman or Jerry Rubin.

                  Where I live, I can buy a liter of cheap vodka for less than $8 (including tax). There isn't a cheaper, faster source to get inebriated that I know of except maybe prescription drugs (which I include in the conspiracy to make us all slow and stupid).

                  Giving up alcohol is a one day at a time thing for a lot of people because sometimes looking at one's life without alcohol is just too tough to handle - the same can be said for quitting cigarettes, wheat, or anything else we might use on a regular basis. Every day we make choices, and the choice to drink or not to drink is one of them.

                  I struggle with this. I really love getting high. I'd rather smoke my high than drink it, but alcohol is easier and legal. Still I figure that even if I get totally shitfaced three days a month, I'm sober 329 days a year. I can live with that. Perfection is nothing to which I aspire.

                  I hope you don't beat me up too badly.
                  "Right is right, even if no one is doing it; wrong is wrong, even if everyone is doing it." - St. Augustine

                  B*tch-lite

                  Who says back fat is a bad thing? Maybe on a hairy guy at the beach, but not on a crab.

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                  • #10
                    i am probably a rarity in the fact that i always say i didnt get the alcoholic gene. none of us in my family are that way inclined. we have way worse demons instead. what i find with booze is i can take it or leave it and i have spent a fair portion of my adult life accidentally on purpose spilling my shots. or i will subtly pour my drink into empty beer cans as men do tend to try to ply us with alcohol for certain reasons. that said, i do love a good excuse to party but i do have to know i am safe. so if i do get totally smashed, it is only once in a while and for me it doesnt trigger any ongoing issues. i always maintain it is good to challenge your system every so often.

                    people i know who have given up drinking who have drunk heaps and had a good many years of alcohol abuse going on have always only ever been sucessful if they totally abstain. it is poss one of the worst addictions to fight as it doesn't seem to be something you can take or leave if you have ever had an issue and it is so easily obtainable and socially acceptable to have a drink. good example, i can take a bottle of beer or wine to a bbq at my kids school. but if i so much as light up a cigarette on the school grounds all hell breaks loose. most people replace their alcohol addiction with something else such as religion. and i really think the trick is to addiction replace myself but you need to choose what it is wisely. i sorted my other issues with the exercise addiction but i do it healthy and maintainable. i was also lucky in the fact that most of my issues were to do with the need to be numb. now i have so many places to go which are beautiful and things to do which are fun, that i need to be with it. so for me, i concentrate on the positives. i make sure i keep busy and make concious choices for my health. and it is a concious thing. you need to love yourself, you need to look after yourself and you need to take every day as a new day and enjoy the ride. if you do stuff up after a while, you generally feel so bad that you are able to get back into it. you also need to identify your triggers. be aware and take countering steps before it is too late.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Ha! JoanieL, no one is going to beat you up! ( I hope) I have had this conversation with myself before, I used to "detox" a few times a year when I would give up meat, booze, cigarettes...It was sooo hard, but I did feel fantastic after about a month. I just had a surprise baby (3rd) 4 months ago, and I quit smoking cigs (for good this time) about a year and a half ago. So I suppose I am pretty clean right now, actually, lol.
                      I agree that I really, really enjoy and anticipate that one glass of wine....does that make me dependent? Maybe. Does that bother me? Not really. It took me many tries to quit smoking, and each time I became pregnant and smoked my last cig for the duration of pregnancy and nursing, it was like leaving that lover that is soooo bad for you, but sooo good in bed. Lol. I think I cried one time (I never cry). My husband, on the other hand, would rather smoke pot than drink.
                      The connection between sugar and alcohol cravings is very real. I know someone more technologically advanced then myself can provide some useful links, but this is definitely something to be aware of.
                      Good luck with whatever you decide, if you are even considering not drinking for awhile, it's probably a good idea! I do not believe that it has to be something permanent, but a predisposition does need to be managed.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I got sober when I was desperate enough that my I became willing to let go of my judgements about AA and religion and just listen. It took awhile. There is not a requirement to believe anything. I think there is a lot to be said for surrounding yourself with people that understand and are having success. That being said, I come here to read about this way of eating so I can model my own way of eating from people who know and I go there to learn from people with long-term happy sobriety.

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                        • #13
                          I was just reading Richard Nikoley's journal about trying a milk and kefir diet (I think you have to subscribe to get it) and he reported a substantial decrease in desire for alcohol. His friend sent him an excerpt that I will leave you with now that explains why he might be experiencing this phenomenon.

                          Then I go full on milk and just simply began losing my taste for it altogether, most days. So now consumption is way way down and most days of the week in week one, I wasn't having a drink at all. And what's more, as I mentioned in last week's Newsletter, those three days I did have a few drinks, I felt like complete crap, which forced me to wonder if I had just gotten used to feeling crappy and now that I'm not, the difference was too pronounced to ignore.

                          I've even come to the point of seriously wondering if I ought to just toss the sauce completely.

                          In response to the blurb about alcohol last week (that got plastered around on Drama sites and comment boards), my friend David Brown—who recently did the guest post on omega-6—emailed me an extensive quote from a book by George Watson, Nutrition and Your Mind: The Psychochemical Response and here's the most relevant portion of it:

                          "Water of life it would indeed be if the whole story of alcohol were to end with its nutritional biochemistry, and it was simply another easily utilizable and wholesome source of energy. But it is not. Every drop of alcohol burned in the tissues creates an nutritional demand for carbohydrates and for many biochemicals that it does not by itself supply, the vitamins and minerals necessary to process it. Consequently, continued, constant, or frequent use of alcohol can lead to depletion of cellular nutritional reserves needed for normal metabolism. The paradox of alcohol is that while producing acetate and stimulating the breakdown of glucose, which in special circumstances results in apparent immediate physical and mental relief from stress, at the very same time this substance is a dangerous drug, both physically and psychologically.

                          One might think that since alcohol is metabolized in the normal nutritional pathways of the citric acid cycle, alcoholism is a nutritional disease, one that can be successfully treated by good nutrition. And indeed we have witnessed some dramatic successes using this approach. When psychological dependency has resulted from using alcohol as a substitute for food, then optimum nutrition can help erase the conditions of mental and physical fatigue which provide a stimulus to "think whiskey." For literally speaking, if you think you "need a drink" you don't NEED A DRINK; you need ATP (energy) derived from acetate, through the breakdown of blood sugar, fat, and protein. If one is really well nourished his energy reserves are as high as they can be. This is why truly healthy individuals cannot tolerate alcohol. Their cellular acetate breakdown is near maximum, and any rapid increase such as will result from a drink of whiskey may lead to headache, sweating, nausea, and possibly vomiting. In short, one's tolerance to alcohol reflects the state of one's biochemical health. The more one can drink without adverse effect the worse off he is. It is just plain utter biochemical nonsense for people to pride themselves on being able to hold their liquor, for only those in very bad shape can do so.

                          Unfortunately, the use of alcohol as a nutritional crutch is far from the whole story, however, for there are many reasons why people drink other than nutritional ones. For example, I had a young man tell me he was stopping his optimum diet and vitamin-mineral formula because he was "losing his taste for Scotch." He preferred the "pleasures of drinking" to the alternative I was offering of increased mental and physical functioning. However, for those who don't want to drink, who find alcohol a problem rather than a continuing source of pleasure, their first goal should be to adopt an intensive nutritional program which will build them up to the point where they not only do not feel they "need a drink" - they couldn't tolerate one without feeling ill if they drank it, amazing as that sounds."

                          Interesting, eh? When I read that it was like a huge lightbulb going off, explaining my whole experience over these last several years.


                          P.S. Sorry about the length, but I thought it was worth it.

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                          • #14
                            I have found since being in nutritional ketosis more or less permanently, I have lost my taste for booze entirely just as the above article posits. I'm not holding myself back from drinking, I just don't find it appealing anymore. (Note: I never had a problem with excessive consumption, I just liked good red wine. Now I don't.)

                            I really think that Dr. Robert Lustig's point stands that fructose and alcohol are very similar in the way they are processed both by the liver and the way they tickle the same endorphin spots in the brain.

                            When I have indulged in wine (my birthday) I found myself craving carbs which never happens for the mostly carnivorous ketotic me.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by JoanieL View Post
                              Quitting alcohol is tough. And now I'll start my paranoid riff on why. Drugs like LSD, most types of 'speed,' etc., make you think, create, do stuff. For some they are addictive; for many they aren't. Drugs like pot and alcohol numb your brain and get you to sit around doing nothing except watching TV and/or (mostly a male thing) get into stupid fights. The govt doesn't want you to think, so alcohol is legal and sooooo easy to find and very cheap - there's also the whole money thing as in taxes, etc. Pot is slowly becoming acceptable with some states either having medical or now a couple of states having recreational use legal.

                              There is a flaw in my logic in that if the govt really wanted us totally numb, they'd make heroin legal. But they want us numb, but able to work and produce. That's my rationale, anyway. And truth be told, I probably got it in my youth from some heavy revvy like Abbie Hoffman or Jerry Rubin.

                              Where I live, I can buy a liter of cheap vodka for less than $8 (including tax). There isn't a cheaper, faster source to get inebriated that I know of except maybe prescription drugs (which I include in the conspiracy to make us all slow and stupid).

                              Giving up alcohol is a one day at a time thing for a lot of people because sometimes looking at one's life without alcohol is just too tough to handle - the same can be said for quitting cigarettes, wheat, or anything else we might use on a regular basis. Every day we make choices, and the choice to drink or not to drink is one of them.

                              I struggle with this. I really love getting high. I'd rather smoke my high than drink it, but alcohol is easier and legal. Still I figure that even if I get totally shitfaced three days a month, I'm sober 329 days a year. I can live with that. Perfection is nothing to which I aspire.

                              I hope you don't beat me up too badly.
                              Joanie, I like the way you think. I know the government wants me numb and unthinking, but sometimes *I* just wanna be numb and not think so much for my sanity's sake... I can focus on unraveling the world's conspiracies some other time.

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