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1 Year Post OP and I think I am alcoholic



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I am post op bypass 13 months ( surgery was 10/07/2020) ) and am I now drinking alcohol every night . I have gained back a few pounds Like 8 and am scared to death. I feel like I am heading back toward terrible habits and need to regain back control now. I am working with a Psychologist that's not very good for PTSD issues and major depressive disorder. I have got control of that but I have now a new problem= alcohol! A year ago, I would never think of drinking on a week night or much at all but now it's become my new addiction and it leads to me over eating and then the dreaded weight gain. I have now drank every night for the past two months and I can't seem too let it go. This had never been me before as my family is filled with alcoholics and I could never understand it and now I do? It kills pain and drowns out so much. It definitely affects me differently after surgery and takes very little to have any affect at all. I am drunk or affected at sip 3. It is such a great escapism and good lord with Covid and the way of the world all I want to do is escape in a legal way and alcohol is legal. I am on disability and have a lot of pain issues and the doctors and psych's try to say its a lot mental / PTSD/ Stress related but they haven't lived in my body. I have had over 15 surgeries and have had many scars and all kinds of mesh - They don't live this body and don't feel my pain. They tell me I need to learn to live with it. Well hell , I am doing the best I can and alcohol does a great job of dimming that. But I know I need to find a better answer and am looking to my community as I know I can't be alone in my pain or journey. My New Year's resolution is to get back to that person that doesn't drink in response to pain. That learns to deal with it. That get's her weight under control in the meantime. Sending out an SOS to my community and asking for good advice or just shared empathy to know I am not the only one and that we do not travel on this journey alone.

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My heart goes out to you. Please find a new better counselor that'll help you and keep regular two week appointments or something to stay in check. Check with your insurance plan to see if they cover addiction recovery programs. I suffer from Clinical Depression and Anxiety Disorder, so I know about using food to mask/treat my problems and while that's not alcohol like you're talking about (I don't drink) it's a similar "addiction" and coping mechanism. I take antidepressants and participate in regular counseling.

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unfortunately, transfer addiction after WLS isn't all that uncommon - some people substitute one addiction (in our case, food) for another. I agree with GradyCat - I'd try to find a therapist who deals with these issues (PTSD and depression - and now, addiction issues). I'm so sorry you're going through this!!

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First of all, I am so, SO proud of you for naming it out loud and asking for help. That is the biggest, hardest step and you did it! You need to know your feelings are completely valid. Trauma, chronic pain, massive weight loss - those are all HUGE things to deal with and everything you're feeling is normal. If your current therapist isn't helping, it may be time to look for a new one. You can try PsychologyToday. com or call your insurance for a list of in-network providers and see who might specialize in PTSD and disordered eating/addiction. Transfer addiction is a real thing, it happens to a lot of bariatric patients, and you are not alone. Do you have any hobbies or past times you enjoy? Are you engaging in those or other forms of regular self care? If not, maybe try and work in some of those things. You deserve to have rest and downtime, but getting it via alcohol won't serve you in the long-term. You are worthy of health and happiness and taking small steps that align to those will make all the difference in the world. We are cheering you on.

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I walked away from cigarettes November of 2016 then booze a few months later. I was already over 300 lbs and I knew I had to start somewhere. I've been reading up on addiction transfer and it's real.

This is not specific to the subject but might help get you started:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/19033853-the-emotional-first-aid-kit?from_search=true&from_srp=true&qid=Ubhhurkvj4&rank=2

I'm also still fighting with what I call the "munchie monster" and I'm still working through my childhood traumas.

I'm also re-reading Atomic Habits by James Clear and trying to incorporate little changes in my daily routine to ensure these habits and/or rituals become second nature.

Alcohol destroyed my dad as it has many others. I hope you can find away to address what's really going on and start walking down a healthier path.

I'm here to vent to or talk to if you need .

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I would agree with what everyone has said about finding a different therapist. It can take a few tries to find someone who is a good fit. Don't feel bad about switching therapists; that is something they are used to and the will not be offended.

You could also try a support group for alcohol use. Many people use AA, but there are probably others if AA is not your cup of tea.

Try to take it one day at a time, can you go today without a drink? If you find yourself wanting a drink, can you distract yourself with a walk or an exercise video or a hot bath or shower?

Good luck!

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44 minutes ago, David_L said:

I walked away from cigarettes November of 2016 then booze a few months later. I was already over 300 lbs and I knew I had to start somewhere. I've been reading up on addiction transfer and it's real.

This is not specific to the subject but might help get you started:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/19033853-the-emotional-first-aid-kit?from_search=true&from_srp=true&qid=Ubhhurkvj4&rank=2

I'm also still fighting with what I call the "munchie monster" and I'm still working through my childhood traumas.

I'm also re-reading Atomic Habits by James Clear and trying to incorporate little changes in my daily routine to ensure these habits and/or rituals become second nature.

Alcohol destroyed my dad as it has many others. I hope you can find away to address what's really going on and start walking down a healthier path.

I'm here to vent to or talk to if you need .

I've worked briefly with a therapist and I'm currently looking for another as well. The program I was part of no longer "saw the benefit" of using the therapy folks they were using so it was going to be all out of pocket. I know for sure I could use some help navigating the real reasons behind my addictive behavior.

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I’m so sorry - I’ve heard this is not uncommon. I would seek therapy ASAP to try to work out why your an addict at all. I know we all have childhood trauma and I’ve been work through mine. It isn’t easy but every day is a bit better. The first step is admitting you have an issue - you have already done that so that’s great! I wish you only the best life has to offer you.

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Posted (edited)

Aside for the helpful advice, please note this devil in the detail:

Quote

it leads to me over eating and then the dreaded weight gain

What if you made sure you weren't hungry at all first? And I don't just mean not hungry, but actually full - and maybe some controlled snacking, too. It's better than the alternative.

Our body works with our minds to get us what we need. This is why you can't just 'decide' to be thin. The mind and body will work together to get that food.

I can't help but wonder if alcohol = finally getting enough food (but then it goes overboard, because living in "good" or "bad" states of mind means when we're "bad", let's be really "bad").

Worth considering.

Edited by MiniGastricBypassDude

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So the family has been bugging me about my alcohol consumption since Covid started. Full disclosure, prior to the new year, I was drinking as least 2 (sometimes 3, on rare occasions 4) drinks A DAY. Either an espresso martini or red wine.

So to get them off my back, and prove to myself I could do it, I agreed to cut down to no more than one one a day for a month.

I thought this would be a piece of cake, but lol and behold, I ended up non-compliant the first 2 days. Mostly because I “forget” that I am on a mission. So on day 3, I put a sticky note on the vodka bottle when I have a drink to remind me I already had a drink that day….and I tell Mr. so he can remind me at dinner if I absently reach for the wine. Since doing this the past 3 days, it’s been working.

When I quit smoking (again) last year (I had quit for 10+ years, went on a vacay in 2019 where I accepted an offered cigarette, and just like that, I was smoking again). And my quitting attempts last spring was also thwarted by me “forgetting “ that I was trying to quit. So I tossed all my lighters, got rid of my outdoor ashtrays and told EVERYONE I was trying to quit, and asked to remind me if I forget , but not to enforce me (cuz I know that will just piss me off), as I want to make the decisions myself.

I’ve mostly stopped since about April 2021, but I admit I’ve had maybe 10-15 in the past 9-ish months….which is a heck of a lot better than 10-15 A DAY.

Final examples: I log everything I eat. Having a running total of my calories, has a bit of influence on my food choices at the end of the day. I weigh myself every day…so I am aware if my weight starts to move from its happy place. Just a couple other “reminders” for me to keep myself in check.

This approach may not work for everyone, but I seem to have moderate success with it.

Anyway…this was my long winded attempt to suggest you try to find what it is that works for you and what doesn’t (either on your own or with the help of a therapist), and make efforts to implement this knowledge to achieve your goal(s). You may not be perfect, and that’s ok, small changes for the better are better than non at all.

Good Luck! ❤️

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I had battled alcohol problems long before WLS also due to PTSD and physical ailments. After WLS I gave up alcohol for a year and a half, but due to a series of crises this year, I began to "drink-medicate" again -- just to escape the terrible feelings of stress, anxiety, fear, and sadness. "It's only a couple of glasses," I'd reason wrongly.

But I had two binge drinking episodes after sudden crises that finally provoked me to give up alcohol altogether. The first caused me to end up in urgent care, with elevated liver enzymes. The second caused me to fall and get a gash across my forehead.

Because I am an atheist, I wouldn't consider AA. But I was directed to an amazing book called "Alcohol Explained: Understand Why You Drink and How to Stop" by William Porter. All I can say is it is absolutely incredible and since I finished the book, I haven't touched alcohol and don't intend to again.

Porter explains what really happens when we drink: the wonderful calming and relief from worries... followed hours later by an increase in anxiety, depression, and hangovers as our brains readjust to the alcohol (which is a toxin). So the vicious cycle begins -- drink to stop the bad feelings... the bad feelings get worse after the drink effects go away... requiring us to drink again... etc. And there's so much more to it, too.

Porter does not believe that alcoholism is a disease (the AA model does) but it is a behavior that can be changed through learning, reframing, and changing behaviors. I can't recommend this book enough.

Lastly, something I should have been thinking about all this time...

Before WLS, my surgeon told me he had only had one patient die after the surgery. The man binge-drank a few times over a three month period and succumbed from alcohol poisoning. His new body couldn't handle the volume of alcohol he used to drink prior to the surgery.

We never think such a thing could happen to us but... now I know.

Edited by Prestonandme

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