Sunday, October 25, 2015


Hey anyone,

As anyone who read my last post would probably have guessed, I drank a couple weeks ago for the first time in quite a while. I was tired of feeling cornered, boxed in, and afraid to live my life. I knew for a fact that at least half of my alcohol dependence was due to my exposure to treatment; prior to being introduced to rehab, 12-step 'treatment' and abstinence-only models, my drinking was harmful, but not extreme. Post-rehab, however, my drinking was completely out of control. I have also always had trouble with the disease model and the chronic/progressive/irreversible ideas related to addiction. So anyways, a little over two weeks ago I chose to drink again. I had one beer, and it was good. The all-too-familiar feelings returned, and I felt warm, slightly foggy, and not as sharp as I had been used to being. I had only the one beer, and I did not really want another since I had chores and work the next day. It was so anti-climactic--the biggest thing my return to drinking showed me is that it wasn't necessarily alcohol that I wanted so badly, it was the freedom to choose it. I thought to myself, "wow what was the big deal? Alcohol really isn't that special." I had forgotten that all alcohol does is make your brain feel a little fuzzier, everything else is the same. You are in the same room with the same people doing the same things.

I drank for the second time this past Friday night. I had four drinks over the course of about three and a half hours. I never felt "drunk" or sloppy, and I woke up with no hangover. I have been adopting and implementing moderation management techniques for my drinking. No more than one drink every 30 minutes, no more than 3-4 drinks in a night, no more than two nights per week, no drinking alone, in the mornings, etc. My experience on Friday was somewhat of an eye-opener. For over a year I had been occasionally going to bars but never drinking, and I always felt left out. If only I had alcohol in my system, I thought, then I would fit in and everything about this situation would be perfect! However, as it turns out, that is not the case. I still felt slightly out of place and uncomfortable. I think I have just changed as a person, and I am not satisfied just sitting around at a bar chatting about nothing and roughly grabbing one another's shoulders and saying in a loud, drunken voice, "I care about you bro!" I did notice that after about my third drink I had a slight return of cigarette cravings. I haven't had a cigarette in about 10 months, so that was a little disconcerting. Turns out alcohol wasn't the cure-all I had imagined in my mind all of those months sober, but it feels really nice to have the freedom of choice back.

Part of me is afraid, though. Alcohol has just had such a damaging effect on my life in the past, that it's almost impossible to shake the feeling off and to unlearn the conditioning I spent tens of thousands of dollars having programmed into me. It still makes me so mad that we spend thousands upon thousands of dollars paying for rehabilitation and all we get is some therapy, an AA book, and 12-step meetings. I can obviously see why they do it, though. What treatment center would spend tons of money giving its patients expensive medication, costly evidence-based individual therapy and psychiatry sessions, and state-of-the-art technology when they could charge just as much and simply let AA members come in for free and host a meeting? The part that makes me sick is that it's almost 2016 and no one has called them out on it. It needs to change, because people are dying.

Anyways, I will keep the internet posted on my progress (or lack thereof). I see the risks of drinking. Part of me is convinced to quit again right now just because alcohol actually isn't that great. I will see how it goes, though. For now, my drinking is perfectly under control and I am showing no signs of dependence or harmful drinking. Fingers crossed. This is my experiment to the world. For better or for worse, I will get to the bottom of this alcohol business.


  1. Thank you for sharing your experiences and thoughts. Allow me to respond to your last two posts. First of all, I have recovered from my alcohol addiction since March 2013 with the help of Baclofen. I maintain a website on alcohol addiction and Baclofen in The Netherlands:

    Like you I don't believe the idea that alcoholism is a non curable progressive disease. This idea only helps maintaining an industry. Most addiction programs, like the 12 step model offer not much more than a timeout, not a lasting recovery. Like with everything it's all about money. The $ 750,000 gift that Olivier Ameisen needed for research on Baclofen ended up with prof. Dr. Reinout Wiers of the University of Amsterdam. That being at 30 km from where I live I paid him a visit when I had just recovered. I didn't sense any genuine intention to promptly conduct a serious research for the sake of lots of people suffering addiction. He literarily laughed about Ameisen and his Baclofen efforts. "Oh yeah, every now and than I receive an email from Ameisen that he has done something good for the benefit of mankind". This Dr. is part of the industry and holds side line jobs with various commercial clinics. Clinics that mostly do little to nothing with Baclofen because more research is needed first. The results from French studies are ignored because they do not fit in the picture. Of course this is a crime. What can we do about is other than giving information and helping people as good as we can?

    About your story I am interested to hear why you stopped taking Baclofen. It's often said that cravings come back when you stop taking Baclofen. Not with you? I myself haven't experienced the switch from cravings to indifference. It turned out Baclofen worked well on my anxiety disorder. The anxiety disorder had caused me to self medicate with alcohol in order to sleep which eventually got out of hand. Baclofen also helps me to sleep. It took me about three weeks to learn sleeping again without alcohol. I now use 50 - 100 Mg Baclofen daily (50 for the night) but got rid of the alcohol and the antidepressant. I feel better than I have done in the past 25 years. In my case Baclofen has done that with an indirect effect.

    Good te read that Baclofen has done you so well. Hope that many more can benefit as well.

    Kind regards,

    1. Hi Sjoerd,

      Thanks for taking interest in my blog! I like several things you mention about doctors and treatment's inability to move past 12-step, confrontational models. All modern research is showing that confrontational models based on 'powerlessness' and the disease concept are at the very least ineffective, and at the worst they are extremely harmful and create a self-fulfilling prophecy for patients. Motivational models that emphasize choice, self-efficacy, and logical reinforcement have been shown to be highly effective. I believe blending the motivational model with pharmacological addiction medicine to augment recovery will be the best option, but obviously huge problems arise when attempting to involve pharmaceutical companies in any process. Just take a look at all the drug and alcohol ads on TV and you can see we are losing major ground.

      Anyways, about my baclofen use. I stopped taking baclofen because I just didn't enjoy taking pills several times a day, having to worry about missing a dose, traveling, etc. It also gave me some muscle fatigue and some sexual dysfunction, depending on the dose. When I quit, the cravings did return for about two weeks. I also had trouble sleeping for a couple weeks. I tapered off extremely slowly, which helped. The cravings subsided and went away, but then again I started drinking again so it could be argued they didn't.

      But so far my drinking has still been completely normal; it has been few and infrequent to this point. It is a scary process, though. I'll be sure to post updates every week or so.

      Hope all is well! Thanks for doing your part to spread useful information about alcohol abuse/dependence/whatever people are calling it this month ;-)