JEveland

WLS, Alcohol, and Rehab

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A fifth of vodka has about 1600 calories.  Two of them and you basically gain a pound.   Or not lose a pound.

 

You know, Im not a counselor, nor have I ever had a problems with substance abuse.  So I can't really walk in your shoes.  However, I can tell you that all of us have stress.  That is 100% of everyone here.  Formerly you reached for food.  Now you reach for alcohol.  One is as bad as the other - but for different reasons.

 

You now MUST stop.  Now. Today.  And forever.  Not drink socially.  Not a drop.  Your constitution can't handle it.  Give it up.  You lost this weight.  You have the ability to stop this too.   Its just not worth it.

 

Find another way to dissipate the stress.  You can do this, but your gonna have to get tough with yourself for a while.  You are the only one who can do it too.

 

BTW, we are close to the same size.  I think 170 is too low for your goal weight.  Take that stress off your plate and go with 185.  :)

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Stay off the sauce, it's the number one cause of weight regain. You did go through major surgery for a very good reason, yes?

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this is a really important thread,  thanks to all for sharing and especially JEVeland for starting the conversation.

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I wish it were as easy as saying, "I just won't do it anymore".  Of course it isn't.  Like many others, now that I cannot comfort myself with food, I comforted myself with alcohol.  And also like many others, I've been amazed at how much I can drink in a single evening. Much more than a fifth.

 

But this has been a good week of no alcohol for me.  And I'll tell anyone this, I can't commit no not drinking for the rest of my life. That kind of statement is too large and frightening.  I can only commit to not drinking for the rest of today. 

 

Good luck to everyone out there regarding this topic.  I never thought addiction transfer was a myth, I just didn't know how strong it was, and how bad it could make me feel. 

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I worked as an addiction counselor and know full well that addiction transfer is real.  I told my husband when he started this that on no account was he to go to online gambling sites.  And I was very careful with both of us re the pain meds after surgery.  I am lucky in that oxy pills don't do it for me.  We are both social drinkers,  and I'm fine with ordering iced tea while other's drink, or even ordering a drink and having 2 sips.  But if you can't sit with 2 sips and a full glass, then order tea, or meet in places other than bars.   I just tell people that I don't drink wine (haven't for years) and there's not much discussion after that,  but it stops the waiter offering me more...

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I can't have it in the house, ever. After the first sip, I can't / won't stop until it's gone. I wish I had not started.

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I wish it were as easy as saying, "I just won't do it anymore".  Of course it isn't.  Like many others, now that I cannot comfort myself with food, I comforted myself with alcohol.  And also like many others, I've been amazed at how much I can drink in a single evening. Much more than a fifth.

 

But this has been a good week of no alcohol for me.  And I'll tell anyone this, I can't commit no not drinking for the rest of my life. That kind of statement is too large and frightening.  I can only commit to not drinking for the rest of today. 

 

Good luck to everyone out there regarding this topic.  I never thought addiction transfer was a myth, I just didn't know how strong it was, and how bad it could make me feel. 

 

 

I can't have it in the house, ever. After the first sip, I can't / won't stop until it's gone. I wish I had not started.

 

tmcgee said in another thread that he actually changed his route home so he would not pass by the liquor store.  

 

You have a serious addiction, and you know what?  A big part of your stress is caused by the guilt over the alcohol.  It affects your job performance, cognitive ability, interpersonal relationships, and how you feel about yourself.  When you get alcohol out of your life, virtually everything will improve and your stress levels will go down.   Much like losing the weight.  It will be as if dawn just broke after a long period of darkness. 

 

You live under a heavy pall, much like a net that has been cast over you, that is impeding everything you do.   I can see that you have a sense of it, but perhaps you don't realize just how much yet.  Processing that much alcohol will destroy your liver, it will prematurely wrinkle your skin, put 10 years of age on your appearance, it will keep you from losing more weight, and make you feel horrible most of the time.

 

Make AA an important part of your life - regardless of how stupid you might think it is right now.  That is the addiction talking - not your brain.

You can do this.  In fact, you MUST do this.  Your life and maybe other's lives depend on it.

Edited by Aviator

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I appreciate all of the comments.

Aviator,

I appreciate the words of encouragement. I actually walked into the liquor store of my choice today and bought a Gatorade G2!  He asked me about the Vodka and I told him its not for me anymore and to not sell it to me!!!!

I think a big part of my addiction STRESS.... I agree

 

Why

 

I might add...

I am a CLOSET ALCOHOLIC!!!! I hide it from almost everyone but my Doctor. My wife has no idea and swears she will divorce me if this was to happen, because we (gbp-patients) can drink so much without really showing any effect in our manner, my wife has no idea.

 

DMX2,

I can't agree more. I have found myself in my roommates liquor cabinet; emptying his Vodka bottle and replacing it with water until i could make it to the store the next day and refill his bottle to the line I made the night before!!!

I try to carry my 24hr coin with me (from AA) everywhere to remind me that it is 24hrs at a time; to remind me not to buy the Vodka today!!! Its a daily fight. 

 

And the Detox from a couple days for us is horrible; legs and arms shaking everywhere, inside of the calf's feel like ants are crawling within our skin, hot sweat and not being able to sleep!!!!

 

Any of us might say this Detox has not happened to us yet.... but once it does, fall back wards and it seems to be there after a couple days.

 

I write this so bluntly because, I AM AN ALCOHOLIC!!!  I feel it is a transfer addiction! And I hate it!

 

I know that many positives have come from my WLS but sometimes I wish i would have never had it!!!!

 

Thank you all for your comments, keep them coming!!

 

And tmcgee,

"Don't get on the sauce!" would be a better statement; because once your stuck there....

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I might add that my wife is an RN!!!  After surgery, we can really drink a lot and hold our composer!!!!

And good, quality Vodka does not put off a smell....

Edited by dogwalker

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This evening I came clean to my therapist about my drinking and what it was like and how it made me feel.  And the three big things that I came away with from that session are below:

 

1. Because of how gastric bypass changes your anatomy, or how it has changed my anatomy, Alcohol is much more like cocaine.  Before surgery, I could have 3 or 4 drinks, feel very drunk for over an hour or so, and wake up with a splitting headache.  Now,  I have one drink and feel really drunk for about 12 minutes and then I feel it wear off with no headache or hangover.  Fast hit, fast drop. Rinse and repeat.  No hangover, no negative feed back.

 

2. The more people I talk to about the drinking, i.e. my wife family, therapist, AA meetings, etc, the better I do over all.  Guilt and shame grow in the dark, and the more light, the more openness I can share and cast on my problem, the better.  

 

2a.  I have a drinking problem.  And I will most likely have this problem for the rest of my life.

 

3. I've spent almost entire life being addicted to food.  And food is hard to be addicted to because you need food to survive.  The best foods and the worst foods  are sold in the same place and navigating between the foods and emotions is hard, and part of that difficulty is that some food is necessary.  Alcohol, on the other hand, is not a nutritional supplement.  I need to eat for the rest of my life, but I don't need to have another glass of scotch.  And somehow, at least for this evening, this makes me feel better. 

 

And if there is a 3a, try and identify the triggers that make you want to drink, or eat, or gamble or what ever it is.  And when you find one of those triggers, and your're going crazy, tell someone about it.  Get it out in the open, out in the light.  Don't let it sit like a resentment bomb in you mind.  Get it out. 

 

Anyway, have a great Fourth everyone.

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I have an SIL that is a "recovering" alcoholic and her choice of drink is also vodka.  She thinks people can't smell it, but I know I can.  Even after only one or two drinks, I can smell it.  Do I say something?  No.  Not ever.  Its not my job to fix her.  She is not a WLS patient - weighing 110 lbs at 5-3 - is her natural condition.  She does, however, look older than her sister that is 5 years her senior.  Thankfully she has not had  drink in a long while now.  For years, she would not admit she even had a drinking problem.

 

It sounds like you guys are at least pointing in the right direction.  Being in a bad place and knowing it is the first step.  String a few days of sobriety together and you begin a path.  A few months defines a trajectory.  Keep it up guys.  Reality is a pretty good place to be.

Edited by Aviator

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I think your story is important, please continue to share...

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I hope everyone on this thread is doing well and reaching for their goals. This is a tough subject.

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A good friend in Maine poured the rest of his bottle of scotch down the drain this morning after getting in it over his head last night. He's done this before, as have I. Maybe not very effective long-term, though very symbolic.

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I'm sad to say that I tried alcohol during my vacation.  The previous effects of a fifth of alcohol takes places for me on less than a single shot now.  I cannot go near this stuff.  I will not derail on this.

 

It was both exciting and scary as hell.  I'm going to focus on the scary as hell and not worth it.

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Just a quick update. I am now 15 days sober, the fog is starting to lift from my brain, the delirium tremens (DT) have almost gone completely away.

Joining an AA group has been my salvation. I tell myself that I am an addict so  why not be an AA meeting addict?

I have found a great sponsor of whom I respect greatly. I make it a point to hit at least 2 meetings a day, within reason and family obligations of course.

I have been on vacation for the past week and have been hitting at least 3 meetings a day. I spread the meetings attendance out to many different groups. So many groups with such a variety of members as been so great for me!

 

SO.... Sober 15 days and turning my transfer addiction  into a AA group attendance addiction!

 

And... DON'T EVER START DRINKING BECAUSE THE PHENOMENAL CRAVING IS JUST TO HARD TO SAY NO TOO!!!!

Edited by dogwalker

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I am so pleased we are finally discussing and acknowledging this serious contradiction post surgery. Having worked in Treatment vocation at one time it was the first concern I had about this surgery Which addiction will I crossover to? You try to steer it to something positive or profitable. Doesn't always work out for you that way. I got totally blindsided on this very issue but believe I've been able to get it under control and out of the way. Understanding and having information on the subject and knowing I wasn't alone really helped.

Psychotherapy is an absolute God sent gift for anyone caught in this addictive cycle. The reason your over drinking and overeating stems back to learned historical behaviour. Talk it akl out with a pro and resolve it you will be so much happier having done it for yourself.

Edited by Wusang

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Great post!  ^^^^^^

 

I agree completely!   :)

Edited by dxm2

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Thank you for sharing your struggles.  I have a similar story... I rarely drank before surgery.  Coming from a long line of alcoholics always made me leery of drinking.  Plus, I'd have a drink or two and just get sleepy, so it never really appealed to me.  About a year after surgery, though, I had a glass of wine, and woohoo!  It was one of the most amazing feelings!  I got drunk almost immediately, but it was short lived.  So I would have another, then another, then another, then I was falling down drunk, would black out, and wake up feeling fine the next day (no hangover).  I kept this up for about a year, during which I knew I had a problem but I liked it too much to stop.  I kept putting myself in increasingly dangerous situations.  It took me awhile before I sought help.  I went to a therapist, thinking she could "fix" me, and she recommended AA.  I went to a meeting a few weeks later, and I haven't stopped going since then.  I've been going to about 5 meetings a week for the past 4 months.  I'm an alcoholic.  I know that I have a tendency to overuse prescription pain killers too (found that out after my plastic surgery last year), so I avoid those as well.  It sucks, but AA has given me an amazing support system of people who think like me but have found a way to live full happy lives.  It's also taught me that we can use our spiritual sides to overcome the physical and emotional aspects of addiction. I'd recommend a 12-step program to anyone suffering from transfer addiction... it's been a lifesaver for me. Literally.

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AA is the prescription for alcohol addiction as well as many addictions.  That combined with psychotherapy and counselling can literally change your life. Sometimes we just need to say to ourselves and everyone listening, I AM A _______________ and hear everyone respond in kind with welcome so are we.  We are never alone in this world, there is always someone amongst us that has been there, done that, and wants to be there to lend a hand to the next. Humanity lives!

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AA is a godsend for millions of people, it definitely helped my dad and one of my brothers. My dad touched a lot of people in the last ten years of his life, he was director of a halfway house in those years. At his wake, the receiving line was endless, 3,000 people signed the visitor books. All my family ever knew about that part of his life was that he "had a meeting" almost every night. "I knew your father through the program" was the constant theme from the stream of people in the funeral home for two days.

That said, AA doesn't work for everybody and I'm one of them, I'm too self actualizing, I guess, I ifnd my way through other means. Anybody who needs help should at least try it. It's been around for a long time with much success.

One of my customers had RNY 12 years ago. I saw her yesterday and she told me about her problems with alcohol in recent years, the addiction transfer that many of us have experienced. I'm happy to say she is doing well and is happy, she recently remarried her first husband. That pleases me, as did the two hugs I got from her. :-)

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Yes a 12 step program is wonderful. I encourage people to not only try AA meetings but to try Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meetings, especially if you found that you didn't like the AA meetings. At least in my general area the AA meetings are pretty strict about not talking about anything but your powerlessness over alcohol, while the NA meetings are all encompassing - basically they take any kind of addiction, because most in the rooms have just moved from one addiction to another to another to another. I went with my ex-husband as a supporter so that I could try and understand what he was going through (because I had tried goingto the Alanon meetings and hated them - usually came home feeling even more sorry for myself and madder at him than when I got there). I ended up doing the program for my food addictions (once I started working on myself with a sponsor I was able to feel strong enough to have WLS) and realized that I have an addictive personality. The sponsor I found understood me even though when she entered the rooms of NA it was because she was on an ankle monitor because her house had been raided again because her boyfriend was a meth dealer and she was one of his best customers. As she worked on her drug addictions she turned to food until she finally realized she was subsituting one "drug" for another. So she understood my troubles. The funny thing was that so many of my friends in the rooms had the same story and there were a lot of WLS patients in there. I will admit that after me and the ex split up and I went through a lot of other things such as my brother comitting suicide I held onto NA by the skin of my teeth and am so thankful for it. Once my life leveled out and became a new normal I stopped going to my meetings and I will occasionally have a half-glass of wine or something but it hits me like a ton of bricks so I really limit myself and actually rarely have a glass, I keep things now in moderation but I'm always very mindful of what could happen if I don't keep it under control. I am still friends with a lot of people from the program the woman who was my sponsor and my sponsee "sister" are both two of my bestest friends in the whole world. They know I don't go and that I occasionally have a drink, but they don't look down on me and they can see that I am happy and secure in my life. Those two ladies are my rocks and I cannot bullshit them to save my life so if they have one inkling that I were out of control they put me in check immediately (they've done it with my shoe/purse shopping, other shopping, etc.). I am getting married in June and these two ladies will be standing up there with me along with my nieces and cousin as they are family to me also (just not by blood). 

 

So while I don't work a program any more I have the tools in my back pocket and use them when needed. The big thing is that I don't hide anything. If I want a drink, I have it out in the open. If I want a cookie or something else I have it out in the open and not sneak it in the closet or in the car on my way home from the grocery store. Addiction likes you to hide, it grows fast and furious in the dark. That is how it survives. And that is why AA, NA, counseling, etc. works - as long as you use it to it's fullest extent works. By talking about how you are feeling at that moment, calling someone, reaching out, helping someone else who is struggling, etc. it keeps it in the light and doesn't let it grow.

 

Now my ex never got it. He was an addict. He also had WLS the month before me, though he had been in recovery at the time and was doing pretty good. I was worried what having the surgery was going to do to him, because I knew that one little "taste" of the painkillers was going to be a problem. He was a people pleaser and didn't like to be honest with others about how he was feeling.  He always wanted everyone to think he was doing great and couldn't be honest with how he felt. We all have good days and bad days, but he didn't like to admit to the bad days. More importantly he didn't like to admit the bad days to himself. You can't get better until you are honest with yourself, and he just never could be. He drank, took whatever drug he could get his hands on, ate whatever crap was available just to make himself feel good, or to numb the pain he was really feeling. Last April he killed himself. I hadn't seen him for 2 1/2 years at that point but had heard through friends of friends that he had been in and out of jails, homeless, rehabs, etc. Our divorce was never finalized because I couldn't find him. I was in the steps of having to show that he was unresponsive and that I had made every attempt to locate him to finalize it when I received word that his body had been found. These next couple of sentences may be disturbing so stop reading now if you don't want to read it, but hopefully it might help at least someone who doesn't think that this disease isn't a killer. His body had been found in an empty lot. The coroner couldn't determine the exact date of his death because it had been really hot that week. They found his body on a Saturday evening when a couple workers at the Taco Bell near the lot were taking out the trash and they kept smelling something and went and investigated thinking it was an animal or something. The coroner estimates that he killed himself on Tuesday. His body laid in a vacant lot for approximately 5 days before anyone found him. His family had been concerned because he wouldn't answer their calls (his dad paid his cell phone bill so that they could contact him) but he would often go several days of ignoriing everyone because he would be hiding in his addiction. I told you that addiction liked you to hide and stay in the dark. He was in the darkest place he would find himself. He slashed his wrists and stabbed himself in the chest (the coroner ruled it a suicide because he actually wrote a note and there was not defensive wounds or anything of that nature), and bled out in a vacant lot by himself. He died of his addiction. It is not a joke. It is a killer. And not just for the person suffering from it, but for the family and friends who have to watch it happen. You think you are hiding it from them but they know what is going on, even if they don't "know" right away. You aren't fooling anyone but trying to fool yourself, you know down deep that you aren't even fooling yourself. That is what addiction does. That is how it keeps a hold of you, until you break free and let it see the light. Talking about it will save you. The relapses happen when you start sneaking it and hiding it again, even though everyone around you can see it. Denial sets in and takes hold. And when an addict relapses they don't start from square one, they go hard and fast quick and start where they left off last time. That's why relapses are often so much more dangerous. We hear it all the time with celebrities. They had been clean or sober for a long time and suddenly relapsed and OD'd. This is why. Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Amy Winehouse are perfect examples of this.

 

OK - sorry for the rambling but this is something that I have lived through on both sides of the fence and once I get started I just kind of explode. I figure that if anything I can say can help one person out there who is struggling then all the pain is worth it. So if you think you have a problem then go seek help, talk to someone. If you are thinking of taking the first drink think long and hard about it and what may happen to you. I'm not saying that one drink is going to be bad for everyone. I admitted that I have an occasional drink and am very aware of what could happen but have a support system around me so right now I am perfectly comfortable with my decision. But is having that first drink to try it out something you want to risk? Go back and read what others have said, there is such a high propensity for transfer addiction with WLS and it is playing with fire. Just really think hard and get help if you are struggling.

 

Peace and love to everyone!

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I had a good friend that had RNY and then became an alcoholic.  Lost his family, kids, house, etc. before he finally went into in-patient rehab in another state to try to recover.  Last time I heard, he was doing well, but I haven't spoken with his family in a while.   It seems to be a common problem.  Wishing success to all of you on this journey.

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That's an amazing story, SweetP, thank you for sharing it.

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That's an amazing story, SweetP, thank you for sharing it.

 

You are very welcome.  It's not a great story, that's for sure, but like I said, if telling it can help at least one person then at least it wasn't for nothing. I'm still trying to get over all the anger I have towards him for putting me through such hell, so writing it is cathartic and reminds me of how deep the sickness goes.

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