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IMHO that is not what AA is designed to do...Sounds like a dual-diagnosis type issue and those are very thorny and straddle medicine, psychiatry and recovery. I'd seek physicians with expertise in dual-diagnoses / addiction. 

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Any tips on how to find MDs (psych or other) in the Austin area who have expertise in both sides of the problem?  I realize Google is my friend, but I'm not sure I would be very good at wading through the results.  This is new territory.

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@jimmyjazz I agree with @MaybeACoordinator .  I'd PM @Augustus as he might have some names from his time in Austin and proximity to the recovery business.

Does your stepdaughter want help?  What's her take on the matter?  Does she acknowledge a problem?  Has she been hospitalized before due to psych issues? What are the consequences of her drinking?  To what does she attribute her problems?

My experience - in 1996 my wife (she was an LPC who thought AA was a crock of shite) and her practice partner suggested I see a Psychiatrist for apparent ADD.  That started me on the Adderall railroad til 2004, when I had heart problems, attempted suicide, was in a psych hospital for a week, and was then treated by the Psych department head at UTHSC in SATX.  Ah, turns out I was Bipolar, not ADD.  Lithium and Cymbalta til 2009, when career/marriage unraveled.

In Jan 2011 at 38 yrs old I finally admitted I was just a garden variety drunk and was separated from alcohol and went to AA.  Fast forward to 2020 and my current Psychiatrist laughs at my past diagnoses.  I'm on a mild antidepressant but she can't imagine that anyone ever diagnosed me as bipolar - but that's what my alcoholism looked like.  The reason I keep seeing her is for an objective perspective on my mental health.  The other thing is that I am honest with her, and my goal is to be medication free in the near future.

My personal journey started with professional help and ended up with a spiritual solution.  I joke that I lived the Dupont Lifestyle - dupont's motto was "Better living through chemistry".

But like all the other alcoholics I know, I had to figure out the truth about myself before progress could occur.

 

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Oh, and my dummy FIL went to Florida a few weeks ago, then hung out at the "restaurant and bar" (Bar) with a local MD who then got covid.  Guess who has a fever, cough, body aches, headache now?  I saw him for 3 minutes week ago yesterday (Friday).  FIL got it last Saturday and has been suffering, and now I've got it.

Hoping I didn't give it to my own elderly dad when I dropped by his house this past week to set him up with Zoom so he could attend to AA service work business.

Going to get tested in 20 minutes.

In related news (Serenity Now!, page 67 of the big book) this week I gave money to Joe Biden and will never vote for another Republican as long as I live.  Apologies for the injection of outside issues.

Since I'm quarantined, I'm mainly making Northland Zoom meetings - does anyone have some suggestions for online meetings?  Other groups?  I love AA tourism.

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Posted (edited)
19 hours ago, jimmyjazz said:

Any tips on how to find MDs (psych or other) in the Austin area who have expertise in both sides of the problem?  I realize Google is my friend, but I'm not sure I would be very good at wading through the results.  This is new territory.

Question, relating to what Bear said, prefaced with some background. 

Dual diagnosis is fairly common, as bipolar folks (and others with "issues") are susceptible to self-medication.  By the same token, however, addiction is a kind of mixture of basically all the psychoses at subclinical levels:  depression, bipolar, OCD, maybe even a little schizoaffective disorder at times.  An active alcoholic can be legitimately (as in clearly meets the professionally evaluated criteria of DSM) with any or all of these.  But any decent mental health pro will tell you diagnosing an active addict is a fool's errand.

Once a person is abstinent from alcohol or other drugs, many of those disorders disappear, especially if abstinence is combined with a program of recovery.

So the question is, are you pretty sure the drinking (and any drugging) is a fairly recent development, or could it have been at a dull roar the whole time?  Fairly frequently, family is fooled into thinking that a substance problem is a new development when it has been an issue for quite some time, but as the substance abuser begins to unravel, it becomes more obvious.

It's a problem that we encounter in AA with some frequency, but the general advice is, get sober first, see what problems, if any, remain. then see a mental health professional.  A pretty fair majority of mental health pros seem to concur with this advice in that getting the substance abuse "under control" is the first priority and everything else follows.

NB.  There is, apparently, a school of thought within some AA "groups" or "members" that everything comes back to alcohol and psych meds are just another addiction.  I have never actually witnessed that in going on 23 years of sobriety, but I understand that it exists.  That's bad juju, imo.

As far as MDs go, addiction specialist first priority.  They may not be experts on bipolar or whatever other malady may be in play, but they won't "pooh pooh" the addiction aspect, which is, unfortunately, the medical response much of the time.  Largely because they are generally helpless to treat with medication.  Going back to the original premise, treatment of bipolar or depression while the patient is actively addicted is a waste of time and  counterproductive and probably dangerous.

Edited by TwiceHorn

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Yeah. In order to address the mental health properly she will have to get clean. I'm doing the same shit right now.

And to Twice Horn's point, it may be caused by alcohol it may not. It can go in both directions and there could be multiple issues with different symptoms and underlying causes.

For example, for me, after about a month clean and starting on Zoloft again my depression went straight out the fucking window. It still creeps up at times but it's truly night and day.

My anxiety on the other hand? Hah. That's maybe the biggest reason I was an alcoholic/addict in the first place (still am but I'm not using right now) - and in that vein my use was definitely a symptom. It doesn't just "go away" because I stop drinking. It thinks that effort is cute on my part but it's still waiting for me when I get up to try and kick my ass.

Now, will that anxiety get better the longer I stay clean purely as a result of quitting the substance? Probably. But it won't just fix itself if I don't address it and put the work in every day. But to figure out how to address it and where it comes from I had to get clean.

 It sounds like she has a lot to unpack. Whether that's alcoholism, bipolar disorder, ADD, run of the mill depression etc. the fact remains that she will need to quit the booze before she can effectively address any of it.

And I 2nd Twice on seeking addiction treatment medically before mental health. No addiction specialist worth their salt is going to ignore mental health issues. A non-addiciton psych could very well ignore addiction issues and blame it on mental health factors (especially if she's not forthcoming about her using habits - which I doubt she would be).

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Posted (edited)

An addendum to the foregoing.  Dual diagnosis is no more "thorny" than addiction alone, or another mental health issue, alone.

Addiction is always a handful.  So are the other things.

One of the problems this presents is that, while no one wants to admit to themselves or anyone else that they have a mental health condition, that goes double or triple for being an addict.

Many addicts use other psychiatric diagnoses as a crutch to avoid the difficulties of recovery.  The addict (and family and familiars) are perfectly willing to (eventually) admit that the addict is depressed, or bipolar, or any damn thing other than an addict.  It's pretty common to see people come into AA after years of chasing therapy and medication solutions for maladies other than addiction.  See BearSchlong, above.

Addicts tend to suffer from what we call "terminal uniqueness."  The feeling that their condition is different from the other drunks and druggies.  Newsflash, it's not.  Terminal uniqueness has a corollary and that is "I don't need AA" or "I don't need to stop drinking/drugging" because my problems are different from everyone else's and if I could just kick this depression, or find the right job, or get to the right city or  . . . .  Other mental health issues tend not to be terminal (which is not to minimize them).  Addiction is terminal.

So getting lost in other diagnoses and losing sight of the real problem is very easy to do.  So if addiction is suspected, it's probably there (addicts are very skilled at hiding it, until they aren't), and it needs to be the first treatment priority until it is definitively ruled out.

Edited by TwiceHorn

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9 minutes ago, ztejas said:

Yeah. In order to address the mental health properly she will have to get clean. I'm doing the same shit right now.

And to Twice Horn's point, it may be caused by alcohol it may not. It can go in both directions and there could be multiple issues with different symptoms and underlying causes.

For example, for me, after about a month clean and starting on Zoloft again my depression went straight out the fucking window. It still creeps up at times but it's truly night and day.

My anxiety on the other hand? Hah. That's maybe the biggest reason I was an alcoholic/addict in the first place (still am but I'm not using right now) - and in that vein my use was definitely a symptom. It doesn't just "go away" because I stop drinking. It thinks that effort is cute on my part but it's still waiting for me when I get up to try and kick my ass.

Now, will that anxiety get better the longer I stay clean purely as a result of quitting the substance? Probably. But it won't just fix itself if I don't address it and put the work in every day. But to figure out how to address it and where it comes from I had to get clean.

 It sounds like she has a lot to unpack. Whether that's alcoholism, bipolar disorder, ADD, run of the mill depression etc. the fact remains that she will need to quit the booze before she can effectively address any of it.

And I 2nd Twice on seeking addiction treatment medically before mental health. No addiction specialist worth their salt is going to ignore mental health issues. A non-addiciton psych could very well ignore addiction issues and blame it on mental health factors (especially if she's not forthcoming about her using habits - which I doubt she would be).

From my observations, anxiety responds best to therapy.  The usual medications (benzos) are another route straight into addiction.

Fear, though, is common to addicts (our lives are shot through with it) and working the steps helps with that.  Once you get out of the results business, as we say, fear of those results (real and imagined) begins to subside.  But if your anxiety persists, cognitive behavioral therapy has been the answer for most of the folks I know.

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2 minutes ago, TwiceHorn said:

From my observations, anxiety responds best to therapy.  The usual medications (benzos) are another route straight into addiction.

Fear, though, is common to addicts (our lives are shot through with it) and working the steps helps with that.  Once you get out of the results business, as we say, fear of those results (real and imagined) begins to subside.  But if your anxiety persists, cognitive behavioral therapy has been the answer for most of the folks I know.

Yep. Had an epiphany in rehab about how I had been afraid of so much my entire life. I had been misdiagnosing a lot of my fears as anxiety.

Mine is unfortunately a little more complicated than that, though. It's very deep seated and physiological so it requires I focus on a lot of little things during each day in addition to bigger picture stuff like working the steps and therapy (speaking of, I need to find a therapist).

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Thanks for all the information.  Frankly, it's overwhelming.  We'll just have to dig in.

It is hard for me to imagine her quitting the drink before addressing mental health concerns, but I'm completely unqualified to make that call.  It's just a feeling.  And, it sounds like I'm mistaken.

I don't think she's been drinking for more than a few years.  To my knowledge, she doesn't (nor has ever) drugged beyond some occasional pot.  She's pretty much a homebody.

She knows she has problems and wants them fixed, but it will definitely take some work to get her on the path to recovery.

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1 hour ago, jimmyjazz said:

Thanks for all the information.  Frankly, it's overwhelming.  We'll just have to dig in.

It is hard for me to imagine her quitting the drink before addressing mental health concerns, but I'm completely unqualified to make that call.  It's just a feeling.  And, it sounds like I'm mistaken.

I don't think she's been drinking for more than a few years.  To my knowledge, she doesn't (nor has ever) drugged beyond some occasional pot.  She's pretty much a homebody.

She knows she has problems and wants them fixed, but it will definitely take some work to get her on the path to recovery.

Could well be true, don't mean to question you, just to point out some pitfalls in the process.

 

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39 minutes ago, NAVY said:

Despite a pandemic, the wife getting laid off, taking on a second job and a bunch of contract work... 7 months today.

Hellz yeah!  I feel fucking great. 

I lurked this thread for a long time. If I can do it, you lurkers can too.

Keep the faith homies

That is wonderful!! Congratulations.

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On 7/31/2020 at 9:38 AM, jimmyjazz said:

Need a little advice:  my 28 YO stepdaughter has long suffered from a variety of issues, some physical, some social, some financial, some family (she the single parent of a 6 YO son), and some mental.  It is the inexpert opinion of both my wife and myself that she is probably bipolar, or at least suffers from something that manifests in a similar manner.  In the past couple of years, she has taken to drinking, and at this point it appears to be a problem. 

Between the drinking and the extreme mood changes, it is clear she needs help.  We are concerned that simply sending her to a psychiatrist will lead to what might be an accurate diagnosis, but it won't assess the addiction or other issues.  I have little doubt medication will help, but this is a very layered problem. 

Would AA or Al-Anon, etc. be able to direct her to psychiatrists who assess the bigger picture?  I am sure some kind of joint therapy will be necessary, too, but it just doesn't seem realistic to simply address mental illness when addiction and other concerns are present.

Thanks in advance for any thoughts on the matter.

I don't have any psychiatrist recommendations, but I will note that any competent mental health professional will address the substance abuse issues before getting into assessments for underlying mental health issues.  Active substance abuse mimics and obfuscates other disorders, making a reliable diagnosis impossible.

The place for her to start is in a substance abuse treatment facility so that she's quarantined from alcohol, can be thoroughly detoxed and begin the process of assessment for other issues, which can then be addressed in treatment and continued on an outpatient basis.

If she refuses, intervention is the only other option.  Let me know if you need/want intervention and I'll help you.

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After following this thread for the past three/four websites, I recently went through a treatment facility. It's amazing what a week or two of detox and all the other benefits will do. People that came in with that thousand yard stare shuffling around and talking to themselves seemed like relatively normal alcoholics/addicts after a short time. I'd start there and then proceed with further psych treatment if the symptoms persist. 

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Posted (edited)
42 minutes ago, Deft Horizon said:

So far so good. I've got a temporary sponsor but not locally. What do you guys recommend for finding good meetings on zoom? 

If you're in the Austin area, google "Hill Country Intergroup."  That's a consolidated listing of pretty much every AA chapter's schedule and most of them have converted to Zoom meetings for the time being.

If you're anywhere else, google your city and AA and I'm sure you'll find plenty of groups doing likewise.  

And I'll give the same advice I do about finding real life meetings: try a few.  Different groups take on different dynamics.  It's perfectly okay to shop around until you find one that feels like a good fit.

Edited by TexArcher

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So far so good. I've got a temporary sponsor but not locally. What do you guys recommend for finding good meetings on zoom? 
The beautiful thing is that with Google you can be in a zoom meeting literally any hour in the day, all over the world.

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On 8/1/2020 at 9:42 AM, BearSchlong said:

this week I gave money to Joe Biden and will never vote for another Republican as long as I live. 

Just in case anyone else was foolish enough to think "at least there's one thread left on Surly where people don't feel the need to fly the colors."

I guess I shouldn't be irritated though, you said "apologies" immediately afterwards.

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Thanks for the indulgence. I'm not typically political, at least online.

 

Anger driven by fear that I've inadvertantly exposed my elderly dad with a gazillion underlying conditions to the covid. If he gets it he's toast.

 

 

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On 8/1/2020 at 12:46 PM, NAVY said:

Despite a pandemic, the wife getting laid off, taking on a second job and a bunch of contract work... 7 months today.

Hellz yeah!  I feel fucking great. 

I lurked this thread for a long time. If I can do it, you lurkers can too.

Keep the faith homies

That's fantastic. I'm happy for you.

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A co worker walked into the office the morning and said he needed help and will be leaving this afternoon for a 30 day rehab. I am super proud of him. I knew the guy had an issue when he drank 6 beers in 25 minutes at the river one day. I got him into working out for a few weeks and I would pick him up every morning and he would smell like beer. He had been real distant to everyone this year at work and I could tell something has been bothering him.  His boss is a good friend to me and called me to tell me and was pissed about missing work but thanks to this thread I was able to let his boss know how brave this is and it should be celebrated. 

 

Surly is good for something after all!

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That's awesome. I hope it takes - if he's productive enough now that his boss is/was pissed about him missing work, he could potentially surprise people with how effective he is when he isn't drowning in a pit of despair and sorrow. And constantly hungover or drunk, etc.

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Glad to hear it.

Covid fucking sucks and it has taught me about acceptance, a microcosm for all the times that I live by self propulsion. When I stopped fighting and accepted its gonna take a few weeks to recover then I found serenity.

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5 hours ago, Clintonaldo said:

A co worker walked into the office the morning and said he needed help and will be leaving this afternoon for a 30 day rehab. I am super proud of him. I knew the guy had an issue when he drank 6 beers in 25 minutes at the river one day. I got him into working out for a few weeks and I would pick him up every morning and he would smell like beer. He had been real distant to everyone this year at work and I could tell something has been bothering him.  His boss is a good friend to me and called me to tell me and was pissed about missing work but thanks to this thread I was able to let his boss know how brave this is and it should be celebrated. 

 

Surly is good for something after all!

Pretty good sign if the guy is telling people in advance that he is doing this of his own volition and has the right motivation for it to stick sooner rather than later.

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Pretty good sign if the guy is telling people in advance that he is doing this of his own volition and has the right motivation for it to stick sooner rather than later.

Totally agree. I said he should be commended for doing this now instead of after he kills someone in a company vehicle. I really wish I could send him a text but I am not supposed to know.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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6 hours ago, Clintonaldo said:

I knew the guy had an issue when he drank 6 beers in 25 minutes at the river one day.

back in the day my issue with that would have been "why aren't there seven beers in a six pack?"

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Congrats -

Also, thanks for the reminder about our family members whom we punished.

We joke a lot among ourselves about the old life.  In meetings and in just talking to other drunks its common to talk about wrecking cars or doing absurd shit and everyone laughs.

I tend to be bad about that and have to be careful not to take a cavalier attitude back to my family because it isn't funny to them most of the time.  Their experience is different than ours with regard to our drunken state and recovery.

Good for you on the milestone and for being aware of your wife's perception while you celebrate your sobriety. 

I needed that reminder today.

 

 

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18 hours ago, Charles DeMar said:

Two years on the 10th, folks. 

 

Happy to be sober today.  Happy to not have a horrible hangover this morning.  Happy that, in this time where my work is crazy busy, I am on top of it.  My wife still has a little PTSD from today's date as that was when she busted me out of a less than acceptable sober living facility, so she is sort of in the dumps (big time rehasher/resentment gal), but, I'm doing me and can't control her.  I can continue to serve her and my kids today and keep on keepin' on.

 

I've learned so much about myself in two years and I can honestly say I don't despise looking in the mirror anymore.

 

Thanks to all y'all for your posts, support, and knowledge.

 

CDM

Quoted for greatness.

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On 7/21/2020 at 6:52 PM, ztejas said:

I was never a big smoker and didn't start at a young age so I'm not going to start smoking half a pack a day but again, optimally I wouldn't smoke at all.

Oops

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8 minutes ago, SwanderedTalent said:

give it time, I smoked regularly until I was 26-27 and then quit and never went back, and I was not 26-27 recently.

Yeah I'm not like, concerned about it. Was going through some past pages of the thread and it made me chuckle. To be fair I did switch to something lighter since making that comment.

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