View Full Version : My story and baclofen journal

August 21st, 2015, 09:47 AM
I'm a 60 yo m litigator in Boston area. 135 days AF. Troubling combination of anxiety and egomania perhaps from day one- though early environment would have challenged just about anyone's equanimity (grandiose alcoholic father; personality-disordered mother). Substances abused: pot (ages 14 to 19); beer (14-59, but a few AF stretches of 1-18 months); and valium (20-30).

Daily drinking of 3-4 beers most of adult life; and occasional all-out nightlong drunks during which my blackout grandiose behavior became so unattractive and foolish-looking that I managed to alienate nearly all "friends" (including the many alcoholic ones) unlucky enough to witness it. I even managed to repel many old hard-drinking frat bothers (who still want nothing to do with me), which isn't easy.

I managed to marry an outing-club type girl in my late 20s, solely because I was on the wagon (lasted 18 months) when I dated her. I started drinking again shortly after we married, and she was soon flabbergasted. I agreed to go to an addiction specialist, who told me valium was my drug of choice and that I had to quit it. I did. But I kept drinking, a few every day and sometimes to ridiculous excess on a weekend night (never during the day, and I rarely missed work due to a hangover). I was going down hill, and at 32 I had decided to shut down my law practice even though I had two young boys to support.

Then a miracle happened: I was prescribed Nardil- an antidepressant. I did not even know I was depressed. Eight weeks later, I was a new man. Completely engrossed in righting wrongs, I could and did work 14 hours a day seven days a week. Also, my desire to get drunk disappeared! The first few months, I would buy a six pack at the end of the day, expecting to easily polish it off and being altogether fine with the idea. But I couldn't get past two, maybe three beers. Ever. I realized it was crazy, and I tried to explain this to my psychiatrist and others but they poo-pooed the notion that Nardil had made me into a social drinker.

Anyway, during the next 15 years or so (1992-2007) I rarely had more than two or three beers at a time, and never had a drinking embarrassment (though admittedly my sometimes-grandiose and usually difficult personality while sober drove some people away, which disturbed me greatly in my all-too-few reflective moments). I managed to make a very good living during these years, which made home life easier even with my, well, character defects as AA might label these troublesome personality patterns.

However the Nardil pooped out in about 2007. By 2010, the tailwinds from the nardil had pooped out as well (I believe it had actually rewired my brain, but the rewiring untangled after a couple of years off of it). I have ever since searched in vain for some other medication to take nardil's place. I have also tried the full spectrum of non-medication approaches, and I've found two daily habits to be quite helpful: vigorous aerobic and anaerobic exercise; and a dedicated vipassana meditation practice.

I can no longer drink because if I do I will default to daily evening drinking and eventually one night I'll get flat-out, blackout drunk, become foolishly grandiose and further embarrass myself and anyone connected with me. So I first quit three years ago. It lasted about 14 months, sustained by doctor-prescribed vyvanse and the occasional klonopin. Then I started again by getting rip-roaring drunk at a frat reunion (whereupon I was basically humiliated and shunned for life due to my recurring bizarre grandiose drunken behavior), and then I fell back into my old pattern of 3-4 beers (mixed with a klonopin sometimes) before dinner each and every evening (thankfully no rip-roaring drunks though). This lasted for nearly a year, until finally, over four months ago, I undertook a new "quit"--for good--with an eye to taking a good look at my socially-unattractive personality (character defects?). Since then, I've been listening to AA speakers and trolling the internet for "tools" to help in my recovery. Hence my discover of MWO.

Especially because of my experience with Nardil, I am very interested in trying Baclofen. I have titrated my way up to 10 mgs TID (which I believe means 3Xday). This has taken me nearly two months! Whenever I try to increase the dose-even modestly-I get closed-eye visuals (usually fractals or lattices, or curious slide-shows of landscapes), insomnia, sort of panicky, with little jolts of anxiety surging through me every now and again- especially when I am just about to fall asleep, and a sense of internal shaking or something. (All this on just 30 mgs a day!?).

Sorry for lengthy post! I'll update as to the Baclofen experience. Any comments would be appreciated!

August 21st, 2015, 07:05 PM
Hey Lex,

I can't offer any sort of advice here, but am looking forward to your updates on your experiences on Baclofen and I also want to say welcome to MWO. I am sure that there are going to be a tun of people here that can offer you more advice or relate to your story.
I was never on Baclofen, but have tried Topamax (didn't really work out for me) and Naltrexone (but I have quit drinking altogether so don't know if there is a point to even taking it at this point).
Hopefully the Bac works out for you...so are you totally AF these days??
Have you considered going to AA meetings? Or seeing an addictions counsellor? What are people closest to you saying?

Anywho...welcome, again(!)...and will be coming back here to take a peek at how you're doing. :)


August 24th, 2015, 06:22 PM
Baclofen: 48 days (now at 10 mgs TID)
Drinks: AF 138 days

Yesterday I had concluded that I would slowly ramp down to zero due to insomnia. But I managed to have a decent night's sleep last night so I am going to stick with it for the time being.

Briseus- thanks for the welcome! To answer your questions, I have not attended any AA meetings lately. I had gone to a few dozen meetings 30 years ago shortly after our first couple of kids were born. I didn't have a problem with it, but I didn't really get anything out of it. Then, when I went on the Nardil, drinking became pretty much a non-issue for many years. It has only been during the last few years that it has become an issue again, and it is not as big an issue as it was 30 years ago. Still an issue, though. A big issue for me, too, is I have finally begun to feel all the shame consequential to my absurd drinking behavior of 30-40 years ago. I seem to have developed a capacity for self-reflection after all these years. In many ways, it is a CURSE! So, I don't have any issue whatsoever with Steps 1-3, and I really have no interest in drinking again in the foreseeable future (I am trying out the Baclofen not for any palpable "cravings" (which I do experience, but only after I've already had a beer or two), but instead in a bid to obtain some measure of peace of mind from, basically, "restless, irritable and discontent"-type anxiety and depression. If I can't handle to Baclofen, I'll probably go back to an MAOI antidepressant. I can't return to Nardil because of low blood pressure issues it causes, but I can try the EMSAM patch.

Obviously, I seem to be one of those folks with mental health issues underlying the alcohol problem.

Finally, I doubt my wife and now-grown children perceive me as alcoholic. They more likely see me as smart and financially successful but as having some troublesome mental health issues that are all tangled up with a longstanding tendency to abuse drugs and alcohol (but not so much, at least during the last 30+ years, as might jeopardize home or family). Indeed, my main reason for quitting drinking is that it has caused me to feel--FINALLY--much SHAME. I don't know why it took me this long to feel it, but it did and it hurts big time, even though nearly all of the "shameful" behavior occurred decades ago.

To be clear, I am having no trouble staying AF mainly because I am so disgusted (finally) with my past drinking behavior that I want nothing to do with that beast!

August 24th, 2015, 06:54 PM
Great job on your AF days Lex:)

August 24th, 2015, 07:43 PM
I feel a need to reiterate that I am resolved to stay AF not only because of the shame I already bear about my drunken behavior in the distant past, but also because of the fear I already bear about my inevitable drunken behavior in the future, should I continue to drink.

August 24th, 2015, 07:52 PM
I am reminded of a time, maybe 30 years ago, when I got rip-roaring drunk at an office party I was actually hosting. The following day, when my secretary related to me how completely drunk I had been acting, I tried to comfort her by explaining that I very rarely got that drunk- "maybe once a year or so," I said. She replied, "that's much too often." In hindsight she had a point.

My problem was that it never bothered me enough after I had gotten drunk and acted foolish. I had this stupid mindset that it was ok to get rip-roaring drunk and act foolish- that everybody should do it. Of course, nobody else was thinking that way- just me. Which made me look especially foolish to them- but again much of it was lost on me due to a self-reflection system that didn't come on-line until all too recently.

August 24th, 2015, 08:09 PM
I feel a need to reiterate that I am resolved to stay AF not only because of the shame I already bear about my drunken behavior in the distant past, but also because of the fear I already bear about my inevitable drunken behavior in the future, should I continue to drink.

Well said, Lex. Same here.

September 8th, 2015, 09:18 AM
Hi Lex -I have just now viewed your thread/journal entries.

Your type of post is exactly the type of information that others need to read.

The shame and the guilt created by our actions after over consumption and then making an ass out of ourselves can be very, very overwhelming and destructive to ourselves. Too often, I felt that I had only recourse of action in order to "kill" the shame and the guilt -more Firewater. Then of course, this was always followed by more shame and guilt and more alcohol. I am not quite sure when the day came, but the day did arrive; I began drinking in the mornings to stave off the guilt/shame, depression, and anxiety.

It is quite amazing to me how I went from being such a responsible family dad/husband, business owner, and humble and grateful person, to what I now refer to as a final lifeless, non-connected, non functioning, human being. I assume that 37+ years of drinking finally caught up to me. I must also accept the realization that I never sought help for my underlying brain disorders (anxiety/depression/PSTD). (I just had no idea that my AUD (alcoholism disorder) was symptom driven and that I was using alcohol to self medicate.

Lex, baclofen literally saved my life, but remember, I took baclofen as a final resort to 'save my life'. It took about 6 months for the baclofen to settle in lose all of its negative side effects (I went up 200mg daily -now at 140mg). The greatest positive side effect that I found/find with baclofen now is my overall reduction/elimination of life long anxiety disorder. It truly is amazing -after 2 1/2 years of baclofen, that most of my former anxiety (irrational part thereof) no longer exists. I can only blame (give credit) to baclofen for this brain changing/rewiring action.

Lex -huge congrats to you for staying AF for so many days. For me, I found myself remaining abstinent several times as a result of the shame and guilt. Eventually, my memory faded of the horrid pain that I felt during those times of self-disgust with alcohol, and I eventually would start back drinking (example: Friday afternoon, had a great week (or a lousy week) -and so I thought to myself, one or two to make things even seem better (or to take the edge off the tough week) would be ok.
I am quite certain you know the rest of the story (as Paul Harvey used to say).

Keep up the great work -I hope that your life is feeling better than it has in awhile? Most importantly, thank you for your continued support and posts on MWO.