An email exchange between me and D, one of the Team 100 members. She’s on day 116 today.
D: Any thoughts on Antabuse? I haven’t been able to find any comments or discussions about it on any sober blogs…or any blogs for that matter.
me: I think that antabuse and other medications are tools in a toolbox. and frankly, the bigger the problem, the bigger the toolbox you need – counselors, sponsors, groups, sober friends, blogging or private journaling, diet changes, moving states, sober penpals, reading other peoples blogs – they’re all tools. So you’re asking me, how many tools do you need? (ha!) guess it depends on how big a nail you need to put into the wall 🙂 sometimes you can get a nail into the wall with the heel of your sandal, sometimes you need to ask for help, sometimes you need to rent equipment, sometimes you need to get your most irritating and preachy neighbor to do it with you because they’ve done it for themselves, even if you hate them… how’s that for an answer to your question 🙂
D: I’ve read so many stories online by women who struggle with drinking and shared the fact that they didn’t drink during their pregnancies (me too!), which is kind of fascinating to me. I remember not drinking was hardly an issue for me during that time, and I’m not sure if it was the hormones or just a powerful mind shift that occurred when the option was taken off the table completely. Since I already have plenty of children, I’m really glad that I found another way to have the option removed for a while until I can firmly establish my new normal. The funny thing is that I’ve sought help from psychiatrists, counselors and therapists during the past 25 years for various reasons, including to address concerns about drinking too much, and until three months ago that “tool” was never offered by any of them. I’m happy I elected to try it, but I’m perplexed by the lack of information and shared experiences with it on the Internet. One thing that I’ve learned by reading so many blogs this past three months is that at any point and time in my life there are probably many people out there who are feeling the same way or going through a similar situation, so it’s seems weird that others who have used that tool haven’t posted any pros, cons, or otherwise. Hmm.
me: I think that antabuse works because … well, I’m not a counselor, and I have to put these big disclaimers everywhere. I’m not a doctor, or a counselor or a genius. but I think that part of what is behind drinking too much is a mini version of ocd or some other kind of mini-compulsive-ness. one drink becomes 4 or 12. And then we can’t have any, because we’re trying to be sober, then our brain REALLY WANTS it. We crave it. there’s an itch to be scratched, and we feel like drinking will scratch it.
once drinking is absolutely removed from the equation == pregnancy, medication == maybe our brain stops trying to find ways to get us booze, because it knows we won’t drink it even if we have some in front of us. The need to fill the urge is gone because the urge isn’t going to be filled. well, does that make sense?
the question is how many people can ‘decide’ not to drink, and can stop, just by willpower, by using thinking, talking, writing, and with support. the answer is lots. but not everyone. some people go to rehab. some people go to jail. some people die before they find anything that works to shut off the compulsive thinking. and so why not use all the tools available? I wonder if a small amount of anti-anxiety medication wouldn’t help, too.
in milder versions of alcohol abuse, I think the booze itself causes the fucking OCD, and so for some of us just removing the booze for a length of time will virtually shuts the thing down. ok, not all of it, but it shuts it down enough that it seems manageable again.
but for me, I’m all about “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” if you have something that’s working, then do that. if 2 meetings a day works, then do that. if praying to god works then do that. if taking anti-anxiety medication works, then do that 🙂 I would be happy to learn more about why you think antabuse works so well … since I haven’t taken it, I’m only speculating as to how I think it would work if I were to take it.
D: You are so smart! You just articulated and explained exactly what I found so interesting. I think have been comparing myself to people who are staying sober by using only their willpower, and letting it make me feel inferior. Like I’m cheating. Like my 90 days should have an asterisk next to it. I feel like a woman who elected to have an epidural trying to compare child-birth war stories with mothers who did it the old fashioned way. I just have to remember that the outcome can be the same either way, and results are ultimately what matter. I plan to spend a lot of time mulling over your other ideas in the coming days, too. It’s good food for thought, and I enjoy mulling!
… so does anyone else have some thoughts on antabuse? Can you inform us? Or anything to add to my idea of alcohol misuse being along the lines of a mini version of OCD…