Post by anonymous1 on Sept 24, 2012 20:56:55 GMT -8
The longest I've ever done NC was 6 months. I felt unbearable anxiety or panic that was there 24 hours a day unless I was asleep. It never got better. I would go see my friends and stay with my family and work and do hobbies, trying to live as close to normal as possible and I never felt any relief from the anxiety except when I was asleep. Alcohol and Xanax didn't even really relieve me of the torture. I didn't want to be alive if living was going to be like that. I don't know how I survived. I was even on an anti-depressant and in therapy.
My question is, from someone who has gone from feeling this severely addicted to now being recovered, how long did it take you to just feel ok again? To just feel secure and normal and not in a state of panic.
Post by magickwomun on Sept 24, 2012 23:13:57 GMT -8
Hi, glad you're back. I'm just beginning my recovery work and i have a long, rough, road to travel ahead with it, but I can relate to your suicidal thoughts and the panic, tension, and anxiety. It gets overwhelming. All week I've been depressed, anxious, nauseated, unable to sleep, barely functioning. I too wonder how long the misery will last.
I don't think there is a universal answer to that question, as everyone is different, but this would be so much easier to endure if we knew how long it would last. It's withdrawal. Eventually it will gradually begin to subside.
Self-medicating and distracting yourself with people and activities is a temporary solution to a permanent problem. There is no quick fix. There are no short-cuts or easy answers. These things may offer you temporary relief, but that's not what recovery is about. Recovery is about deliberately facing the problem and dealing with it, not passively avoiding it. You will have to ride the storm out with the rest of us, but that's the good part, you don't have to ride the storm out alone.
So, you have 3 choices, misery, suicide or recovery, what's it going to be? That was my statement and question to myself that brought me here. I chose recovery, rolled up my sleeves and prepared myself for the challenge. Recovery is challenging but worth the effort.
Assuming you are here seeking recovery, I suggest you start by reading some posts off of the following boards:
(Also, on your first post, I replied with a few links, please review these as well.)
This will get you going in the right direction if recovery is your choice. Awareness is essential. You can't overcome a problem with only a vague understanding of it, and you can't form a solution without understanding your alternatives, so start with a quest for knowledge. From there you can decide your recovery goals and put together a recovery plan. We are all here to help one another, but we as individuals are responsible for our own recovery, no one here can do it for you. If you have any questions, feel free to ask. I look forward to seeing your progress and sharing mine with you, this addiction can be so agonizing...
"Giant oak trees started out as little nuts that held their ground".
Post by anonymous1 on Sept 25, 2012 15:12:25 GMT -8
Thanks for your replies. I used to go to ACA and Al-Anon every week for about a year but I stopped going because I felt that while it was educational, I didn't feel like it was helping me get any better. I have been in individual therapy for about 5 years every week.
I think I wanted to know if anyone exists that was as severely addicted as me, with the panic and suicidal thoughts that I have, and recovered to the point where they don't feel constant unbearable panic anymore and how long it took them to get there.
Post by magickwomun on Sept 25, 2012 20:00:34 GMT -8
I'm sure there is someone who was once as severely addicted as you, probably more so, that has recovered to the point of somewhat normalcy. If they are a member on this forum, they have yet to reply to your post, but i'm sure you're not the only one.
However, to reach that point of normalcy, one must embark on a deliberate and purposeful recovery plan. Recovery is not something you sit back and wait for to happen to you, you have to be proactive and diligent in seeking recovery, this means you have to do some work on yourself. Recovering is a verb.
Speaking hypothetically, what if a member here replied to you and said "Yes, I was severely addicted, I had panic attacks daily and attempted suicide twice, but I entered recovery and after 1 year the panic attacks and suicidal thoughts stopped."
What then? Would you passively wait around for 1 year for recovery to happen to you? You would be terribly disappointed. It doesn't work that way. Entering recovery means doing something. If someone posted such a reply, they would also explain to you all of the work they had to do in recovery to reach the point of normal functioning again.
How long the recovery process takes is different for everyone. There are numerous factors contributing to the addiction and recovery process that are different for each individual. No one can tell you how long your recovery will take. Unless you came here to take a poll question for a research study, why else would you ask such a question? There is no cut and dry answer. I'm sure everyone here would feel much better knowing how long their recovery would take, but unfortunately it is not that easy.
The only thing you can do to end your misery is to enter the recovery process, work through it until you are recovered, no matter how long it takes. That is what this board is for.
"Ultimately, the pace of recovery will be entirely dictated by the severity of the addiction and how the addict feels that they can progress. There is no definable timescale, there are only certain steps and stages that the addict will progress through to their final recovery, and whether they will always fear a relapse or can embrace life without worry again, it will be much better than the addiction that can stifle and destroy their life without the possibility of their being a full recovery."
If you want to recover, do you feel you have reached the point in your misery, your "rock bottom", where you are willing to do anything to fix it? Has it gotten so severe that you are willing to grab the recovery bull by the horns? Because the members here have all reached that point. We've all arrived at a point with this addiction that we are willing to do all of the recover work to free ourselves of our misery. Perhaps you are not ready yet. Perhaps it has not gotten severe enough for you to take that step, yet.
You are grappling with suicidal thoughts and what sounds like acute anxiety. Many factors can contribute to these problems. Where do you think these problems are coming from? Perhaps whatever has contributed to your addiction is also contributing to these problems. Have you discussed these things with your therapist? Have you had a medical doctor rule out any physical contributors? Lifestyle plays a big part. Do you eat healthy meals, sleep regularly and exercise? Do you smoke? These questions are more for yourself than me. Part of the recovery process is doing an honest evaluation of ourselves, identifying problems, causes and solutions. Is there something about yourself that you are afraid to look at?
"Giant oak trees started out as little nuts that held their ground".
Post by anonymous1 on Sept 26, 2012 14:44:09 GMT -8
I think you are making an assumption that I am not trying hard enough, which is absolutely not true.
I have been obsessed with recovering from this for 5 years, getting professional help, going to Al-Anon, medication etc. People on this board always get so threatened and defensive by any sort of objective criticism of 12 step recovery, which I don't think is helpful. I have every right to have concerns and try to have them addressed by people. For example, I've read many places that 90% of people working a 12 step program relapse within the first year. I think it's important to have that addressed. I am very discouraged right now and there is a possibility that my feelings of discouragement are founded. The reason I wanted to know if someone has recovered to a point of normalcy from a place of addiction as severe as myself, was because I wanted an anecdote in order to either find some hope or, if no one answered this post or knew of a case example, I would take that into consideration as to whether or not I need to accept that I will not likely find the kind of life I'm looking for. Lastly, you vaguely mention "doing things" to work toward recovery, and continue to press that I need to do them, making the assumption that I'm not, and not specifying exactly what you have in mind as, "doing things." Everything you mention as far as doing the research, seeing the doctor, living a healthy lifestyle --been there, done that LONG ago. Plus, you speak as if I must not want it enough, which, if you knew me in real life, you would see how extremely to the other end of that spectrum I am. Everybody knows me as the self-improvement freak. Lately though, I am trying to look at things objectively, to assess if I am on the right path or not. Oh, also, thank you for the link to the success story. I like to read them and I am trying to find one similar to my own on the site but I haven't yet found one. I will keep looking.
Post by magickwomun on Sept 26, 2012 20:51:25 GMT -8
Anon, i certainly didn't mean to undermine your efforts, i apologize if i came across that way. You posted once before asking what the board is for. I sent you links to the pages that explain that. This board is for recovery. Also, in the intro pages you will find that a tough love approach is sometimes used on this board. You came here as a new comer and made 2 very vague posts. Nowhere in my replies to you did i mention the 12 steps and of the 6 postings you've made (as of this writing) i haven't seen anyone get defensive with you about the 12 steps. The intro pages i linked you to explain that the 12 steps are only a suggestion, not a rule. As i said before, recovery is different for everyone, what works for 1 person may not work for someone else. As far as 90% of people relapsing during the first year of a 12 step program, personally I think an addict can relapse at any time during any type of recovery program. We are addicts, we have the potential to relapse.
I myself have struggled with this problem for years, since early childhood actually. For about the last decade I resigned myself to living in misery with this problem and trying to control it, of course that was futile and it eventually caught up to me. I too looked for an anecdote and finally realized that there isn't one. No magic potion, no genie in a lamp, no instant relief. I too attended some meetings and saw a therapist, took medication, etc. Only to fall back into the same self-defeating patterns of behavior. I also used to shun the 12 steps, but my attitude towards them have changed. I've been studying the principles behind them and see how they could possibly be beneficial to me. They certainly can't hurt, but without knowledge of those underlying principles, my attitude would still be that they are ineffective, and with that attitude, of course they will be ineffective. I am still working step 1 and I'm almost positive I've surrendered trying to control this and let go of any denial I may have had. Obviously we all have to do that first, whether we are working the 12 steps or not.
Asking for a time frame or an anecdote suggests to me that your understanding of recovery is vague. Recovery is the solution to this problem. People actively in recovery have already found hope and they are acting on that hope. You claim that you are still trying to find hope. Again, not to undermine your efforts or pain, but when an addict reaches the point where they simply can not take another day, it seems they usually find hope out of raw desperation. Their minds are suddenly open to anything that might potentially help them. I'm just not certain if you've reached that point yet or not, only you can say, but it sounds to me as though you are "stuck". It took me and several other board members years of suffering to ever reach that point. I think most of us go through a stage of resistance, where we know we are addicts but on a subconscious level we want to fight it, which helps sustain the addiction.
Addiction is an illness. Addicts are sick. I think part of recovery involves finding the causes of our illness, usually in our childhoods. Have you embarked on any inner child healing? What kind of love addiction(s) would you say you have? Having limited information about your situation or history with this, I suggested you begin by reading posts here on the board so you could decide your recovery goals and put together a recovery plan. It's impossible to know everything about this that there is to be known. You can always learn more and if you look around the board you might find something that triggers an A-ha! moment for you. You might find that missing piece of the puzzle, but you have to keep searching for it. When I came here I thought I knew a lot about this addiction, as I navigated the board reading different posts and reading recommended books, I became even more knowledgeable, which gave me a better understanding and more hope.
I also suggested you share a bit about yourself with the group so that we can offer you better support and insights. The more information we have, the more feedback we can offer. What are your goals for recovery? What specific results do you hope to achieve? Relief from anxiety I imagine, what else? In what ways has this addiction effected your life?
Recovery involves digging deep down into yourself and it is usually some fear of what we are going to find there that keeps us from doing that. Recovery seems to be a painful process, it requires changing deeply ingrained attitudes and beliefs, which is scary because it takes us out of our familiar comfort zones. The good thing about this board is you can share these things here and no one will judge or condemn you, because we all have our damages here so we can empathize with one another.
From what you've posted, I don't believe you are as hopeless as you seem to think you are. I don't believe your addiction is any more or any less severe than any of the other members'. I think your attitude is more negative and you are making recovery impossible for yourself because subconsciously, you are still trying to maintain the addiction. I'm sure most everyone on this board has been where you are, I know I have, off and on through out my life. The last 2 weeks have been miserable for me. I haven't slept and have barely eaten in 3 days. I'm chain smoking. The tension in my back and shoulders is horrible. My stomach is in knots and I constantly feel nauseated. I have an ongoing headache. I can't stop the negative thoughts spinning through my head. I have hysterical crying jags once in a while, other times I space out and feel numb. Suicide? A strong suicidal urge is what brought me to this board. I attempted suicide many years ago. I think about it often, when i do, i come to the board. So don't think you're alone or any worse off than any of the rest of us, we are all here for the same reason, this addiction is destroying us. The only difference I see is that we are here recovering. Why are you here?
This board has been a tremendous help to me. It has distracted me from my negative thoughts and switched on a dozen light bulbs in my mind. Coming here, reading others posts, lets me know I'm not alone, i'm not a "freak of nature". I can relate to what others are experiencing and it reminds me to stay focused on recovery. I offer suggestions and that reminds me that I should take my own advice, practice what I preach. Just talking to you these last couple of days has helped me to see how far i've come in a very short period of time, so without even trying to, you have helped me. Thank you. This board can help you too if you will let it. If you've tried everything and nothing has worked, try again. That's all any of us can do. "Progress, not perfection." The board is here for those in recovery or those wishing to enter recovery. Attitudes of hopelessness are discouraging to others that could otherwise be making progress. We can only help you if you are willing to help yourself. This is a support group. We all support each other. In closing, i will offer you some more links that I think can help you, whether or not you read the information and use it is entirely up to you. Hope this helps. Best of Luck.
Post by Jacarandagirl on Sept 26, 2012 23:44:32 GMT -8
I think it's pretty hard to say anything particularly definitive about recovery and how it usually goes. Because we are all so different, with different stresses and lifestyles. Although we share similar stories and patterns, we are all going to have a unique path in recovery.
Anon1, I perhaps haven't suffered the same level of anxiety as you, as frequently, but I have felt similar feelings at times. I have experienced an ongoing sense of worthlessness in my life. It disappears for a time and then reappears, like within one week I will usually feel it at some point. On a bad week I feel it over and over in a day. It is horrible and I spend some of my time avoiding that feeling, with addictive behaviour. But happily I can report that since the other night, which I posted about in Dear Love Addiction, I think I've had a breakthrough. I feel a sense of real support for myself that lasts all day (and all night), and when I think about the things I haven't achieved yet I don't get the stabbing "I should be able to" thoughts and feelings. I am watching like a hawk for them. I really want to change this in me, I want to be able to happy being just me how I am, regardless of what I have done in the past. I want to support myself and not sabotage my life. I don't need to fail to make others feel OK. People will still love me if I am capable and caring to me.
Hope you keep posting.
"You deserve better than something that may be comfortable for you but you already know doesn't work and that you'll be complaining about soon enough and hoping that something or someone else will do what you can't even do for yourself. You deserve better - you deserve change".
Excerpt from www.baggagereclaim.com
Post by Susan Peabody on Sept 27, 2012 11:27:20 GMT -8
I think you are making an assumption that I am not trying hard enough, which is absolutely not true.
From Susan . . . no one should judge your recovery. Please regard this sentiment. We are all a work in progress. Even the smallest steps can help. Big breakthroughs are seldom. Just keep working your program the best you can. Depression can cause recovery to slow down and is your biggest hurdle. Hang in there.
Hines Feet on High Places is about a journey. The journey goes on and on and on. This is all you remember at the end because at some point you just want the journey to end and it keeps on going. The artist is brilliant. Just before throwing the book against the wall she ends one journey and leaves us at the beginning of another. This is life. Check out the audio when you are commuting.
Post by anonymous1 on Sept 27, 2012 12:07:47 GMT -8
Thanks everyone, I am reading the links and adding recommendations to my book list. I've been reading the pinned posts at the top of each subforum to get a good overview of each board. The number one thing I want in life is to not feel chronic panic when I don't have a boyfriend. I am hoping that there is a way to recover from that and feel the sense of security I have when I have a boyfriend, but when I am alone. I was thinking maybe if I go through withdrawal long enough, after like, 6 months or so of that, maybe I will be free from that bad feeling. I don't know. And I'm still weighing my options to see if I want to do that or go through my life using men like a lifesaver to avoid feeling severe anxiety. I suppose that's what I'm going to this forum for. To get some information and perspective.
Post by magickwomun on Sept 27, 2012 14:24:55 GMT -8
"The number one thing I want in life is to not feel chronic panic when I don't have a boyfriend. I am hoping that there is a way to recover from that and feel the sense of security I have when I have a boyfriend, but when I am alone."
That is 1 of my recovery goals as well. I'm 33 and I've always kept a man in my life somehow, even if we were just dating, or friends with benefits, or he was my boyfriend, I've always kept a man in the picture, no matter if the relationship was good or not. Before i was old enough to date i was a celebrity torch bearer.
"I was thinking maybe if I go through withdrawal long enough, after like, 6 months or so of that, maybe I will be free from that bad feeling. I don't know."
I can relate to this too. I'm going through withdrawal and it's gut-wrenching. This is the first time in my life I've ever been completely on my own, without a man in the picture. I think after a certain amount of time i will gradually adjust to the change. Life long behaviors are stubborn.
"And I'm still weighing my options to see if I want to do that or go through my life using men like a lifesaver to avoid feeling severe anxiety."
I did this too. I went through a very painful break-up years ago and tried to give up transferring my addiction from that guy to the next. I tried to resist the new guy, but he was persistent and being weak i gave in to him, only to have that relationship crumble some months later. I immediately replaced him as well, this time without resistance, thinking things would be different with the new guy. Turns out that the new guy was also a love addict of different sorts and a sex and drug addict, so the relationship was terribly unhealthy and abusive. I finally met my Siamese twin. It was so terrible it gave me my final wake-up call.
That was the relationship that brought me here. It was an absolute nightmare and I can foresee it haunting me for years to come. The thing is, i had to go through that horrible experience to reach the point that I was able to see that my addiction is destroying my life and it's not going to stop. I'm glad though, that eye opening relationship is the one that brought me to the point of surrender, the beginning of change, as scary as it is, nothing could be as bad as going through another experience like that. I cringe when i think of all of the horrible things I let that man do to me. I didn't realize until then that my addiction was so out of control that I would reduce and degrade myself in so many ways. Much like the alcoholic who has to hit a school bus full of children and face manslaughter charges before realizing that drinking is destroying his life. I finally got strongly addicted to a very dangerous man.
My focus has slowly shifted from him to me. Now i'm forced to look at myself and ask, why? Why do I have this addiction? What caused this? Where did it begin? Why do I have withdrawal when i'm single? Since I came to the board I've done a great deal of self exploration and it has been very painful, but necessary. It has given me a lot of hope. i still have a lot of work to do, a lot of questions to ask and answer. It is going to take some time to unravel this mess. I'm terrified of dating now, i'm sure that will pass eventually, i don't need to be dating right now anyway. I'm scared that I will get addicted to another dangerous man and I might end up getting killed next time.
I'm glad to see you are pondering things and reaching out. That takes courage. There is a lot of wisdom on this forum. Keep coming here. It will help. Keep reading and exploring yourself. We are here to help one another if you have any questions or something you'd like to share. Best wishes.
"Giant oak trees started out as little nuts that held their ground".
Post by anonymous1 on Sept 28, 2012 19:08:36 GMT -8
I think I've gotten stronger and developed more self-esteem and self-control over time. But the progress is so slow and I'm so pessimistic, it's hard for me to see. My POA made me feel the worst I've ever felt in my life. 2 years later, he said he was a changed man and wanted to try things again and I agreed to test the waters. He's a lot better now, but just not able to give me what I need most yet. He may never. But this time when I saw the red flag, I didn't wait for it to happen 100 more times before breaking up with him and having no contact. So that's progress, I suppose.