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Ohioman1972

Anxiety Management

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Feel free to discuss your stresses and how to overcome them.

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So who wants to start?

 

OK, me. Many of you know I belong to another fellowship that you can find very near the front of the phone book. We meet on a regular basis just like the guys in here do, only we do it in person. We meet so that we can pass on our experience, strength and hope to newcomers who want to stop drinking. Much like QSSN, we encourage accountability and a day-at-a-time approach. Also, as QSSN tries to keep the focus on ridding ourselves of nicotine, we keep the focus on staying away from that first drink.

 

Additionally, we have a plan of action to help us deal with life on life's terms. What's the point of quitting if we are incapacitated and miserably chained to fears and anxieties?

 

It's similar with quitting dip. I don't know how I would have made it (quitting Copenhagen) without the mental/emotional tools I've learned from others over the years.

 

Anyway, I welcome this forum. Much2long nailed it when he said we need a safe place to come to and discuss this stuff. Let's see where this leads...

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Thanks SM. Just like you, I am also a recovering alcoholic (16 years) and have been (and still do ) go through the 12 steps. Compared to quitting booze, though, quitting nicotine seems 10 times harder. I'm talking about the psychological aspect, especially the first year. I've had one other extended quit of 3 years, but I don't recall going through the psychological HELL that I have gone through with this quit (especially days 30-70). I think one of the reasons is that this time I quit purely for MYSELF, not for my wife like I did last time. Since I quit for myself, I had to face up to my demons and fears that I was able to hold at bay on my previous quit because I was just "biding my time" until I could get away with dipping again.

 

Well the demons and fears came to the surface with a fury, so much so I really thought I was going to have a heart attack or stroke. I, who had only read about anxiety attacks from a safe distance and thought they only happen to "nervous" people who just need to get over it and get a life, was suddenly having anxiety attacks all day long and waking up at 4 am with my heart pounding out of my chest convinced that my wife was about to leave me, that my boss was going to give me the pink slip and that my 14 year old was going to figuratively give me the finger for not being a good father. I suddenly felt like a fraud in my professional life and within my relationships. I became clingy and needy (which is SOOO not me) with my wife asking her over and over again if she still loved me. She was freaking out and insisted over and over again that she was acting normal and was not "ignoring" me at all. I was a mess and lived in Hell for about 30 days. Some of those days, the anxiety very nearly incapacitated me. It was difficult to even hold a casual conversation. I wanted to be alone, but I dreaded the thought of being alone, being abandoned (Now THAT'S screwed up :-\).

 

Turns out a big part of my hell had to do with unacknowledged grief. My wife was the one who looked at me one day in mid December and said: "I think a lot of this is happening right now because you haven't grieved your mom's death yet" (she died Jan 3, 2010). I opened my mouth to deny this but what came out was a howl of pure agony. That opened up the floodgates and they stayed open for several hours. The next day the same. On one hand I felt like a wuss for falling apart in front of my wife like that (didn't seem very manly), but on the other hand it was a very satisfying experience to (finally) be able to open up to my wife, my best friend like that, to see the raw, real ME.

 

I thought I had mourned my mom's death, but what I had really done was to try to intellectualize and rationalize my feelings and emotions and "mourn" and"comfort" myself through things like, "she's where she always wanted to be. She is no longer suffering", blah, blah, blah. But the child - me, HER child - hadn't grieved over the fact that the one who had nurtured and raised him would no longer be here in this realm - ever.

 

I'm pretty convinced that, if I hadn't quit nicotine, that I still would be intellectualizing my "grief" and would still be cruising along with my emotions frozen. Other emotions and feelings have also come to the surface during this time, emotions that had been suppressed for many years, but that had still grown into monsters nonetheless. Once the suppression was removed, the monsters surfaced to dominate my being for a while. Anybody who has had this happen knows that the physical withdrawal symptoms of nicotine are itty-bitty peanuts compared to the assault launched on the psyche. I would take 100 days of physical withdrawal over two days of full-blown anxiety -anytime and anywhere.

 

I want to encourage anyone to post here if you are experiencing these things and need help, encouragement; or have in the past and can offer techniques, methods and perspectives to get through these episodes.

 

Days 30-70 (give or take ten days either way) are highly dangerous for nicotine quitters because of a begging and pleading need for everything to go back to "normal". This hasn't been addressed sufficiently in QSSN. Hopefully this will change. THIS IS A SERIOUS PART OF THE QUIT and there's nothing wussified in needing help through this period. You only want to go through this ONCE, so get all the help you need.

 

I'm now at 81 days and the anxieties have leveled off significantly. I still have occasional episodes that last only for a few minutes until I can identify and release the fear(s) and lies that those fears are trying to get me to believe. I have a new normal now, one that's much more sane, calm and peaceful.

 

And I'm very thankful. If you are going through something similar - take heart and have faith, faith that the sun WILL shine again. Remember that darkest hour is the hour right before the dawn. You will never know this, though, unless you stay quit enough todays. so, NDT - no matter what!

Edited by much2long

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Thanks SM. Just like you, I am also a recovering alcoholic (16 years) and have been (and still do ) go through the 12 steps. Compared to quitting booze, though, quitting nicotine seems 10 times harder. I'm talking about the psychological aspect, especially the first year. I've had one other extended quit of 3 years, but I don't recall going through the psychological HELL that I have gone through with this quit (especially days 30-70). I think one of the reasons is that this time I quit purely for MYSELF, not for my wife like I did last time. Since I quit for myself, I had to face up to my demons and fears that I was able to hold at bay on my previous quit because I was just "biding my time" until I could get away with dipping again.

 

Well the demons and fears came to the surface with a fury, so much so I really thought I was going to have a heart attack or stroke. I, who had only read about anxiety attacks from a safe distance and thought they only happen to "nervous" people who just need to get over it and get a life, was suddenly having anxiety attacks all day long and waking up at 4 am with my heart pounding out of my chest convinced that my wife was about to leave me, that my boss was going to give me the pink slip and that my 14 year old was going to figuratively give me the finger for not being a good father. I suddenly felt like a fraud in my professional life and within my relationships. I became clingy and needy (which is SOOO not me) with my wife asking her over and over again if she still loved me. She was freaking out and insisted over and over again that she was acting normal and was not "ignoring" me at all. I was a mess and lived in Hell for about 30 days. Some of those days, the anxiety very nearly incapacitated me. It was difficult to even hold a casual conversation. I wanted to be alone, but I dreaded the thought of being alone, being abandoned (Now THAT'S screwed up :-\).

 

Turns out a big part of my hell had to do with unacknowledged grief. My wife was the one who looked at me one day in mid December and said: "I think a lot of this is happening right now because you haven't grieved your mom's death yet" (she died Jan 3, 2010). I opened my mouth to deny this but what came out was a howl of pure agony. That opened up the floodgates and they stayed open for several hours. The next day the same. On one hand I felt like a wuss for falling apart in front of my wife like that (didn't seem very manly), but on the other hand it was a very satisfying experience to (finally) be able to open up to my wife, my best friend like that, to see the raw, real ME.

 

I thought I had mourned my mom's death, but what I had really done was to try to intellectualize and rationalize my feelings and emotions and "mourn" and"comfort" myself through things like, "she's where she always wanted to be. She is no longer suffering", blah, blah, blah. But the child - me, HER child - hadn't grieved over the fact that the one who had nurtured and raised him would no longer be here in this realm - ever.

 

I'm pretty convinced that, if I hadn't quit nicotine, that I still would be intellectualizing my "grief" and would still be cruising along with my emotions frozen. Other emotions and feelings have also come to the surface during this time, emotions that had been suppressed for many years, but that had still grown into monsters nonetheless. Once the suppression was removed, the monsters surfaced to dominate my being for a while. Anybody who has had this happen knows that the physical withdrawal symptoms of nicotine are itty-bitty peanuts compared to the assault launched on the psyche. I would take 100 days of physical withdrawal over two days of full-blown anxiety -anytime and anywhere.

 

I want to encourage anyone to post here if you are experiencing these things and need help, encouragement; or have in the past and can offer techniques, methods and perspectives to get through these episodes.

 

Days 30-70 (give or take ten days either way) are highly dangerous for nicotine quitters because of a begging and pleading need for everything to go back to "normal". This hasn't been addressed sufficiently in QSSN. Hopefully this will change. THIS IS A SERIOUS PART OF THE QUIT and there's nothing wussified in needing help through this period. You only want to go through this ONCE, so get all the help you need.

 

I'm now at 81 days and the anxieties have leveled off significantly. I still have occasional episodes that last only for a few minutes until I can identify and release the fear(s) and lies that those fears are trying to get me to believe. I have a new normal now, one that's much more sane, calm and peaceful.

 

And I'm very thankful. If you are going through something similar - take heart and have faith, faith that the sun WILL shine again. Remember that darkest hour is the hour right before the dawn. You will never know this, though, unless you stay quit enough todays. so, NDT - no matter what!

Dang, I wish I'd been more tuned in to what you were going through. You mentioned that you still work the steps, but I saw no mention of meetings or a sponsor.

 

I was in a similar (but different circumstances) hell for most of 2008, before I quit dipping. I lost twenty pounds, which was a lot for me. I was so ridden with fear and anxiety I would have lost my job, had I not been self employed. The fellowship, and especially my home group, saved what was left of my sanity. No psychiatrist or drug could have helped me at that point. I needed compassion and time -- lots of both. I remember running, and having the anxiety hit me. The only thing to do was run harder, until the anxiety over getting enough oxygen overtook the fear. I spent a lot of time in prayer and meditation. By the time I quit chewing, I can't say I was healed. I'm still healing from that year.

 

Days 30-70 are a bitch. We also, if I remember, lost a fair share of quit brothers in the 80-110 range. There seem to be "seasons" of a quit, but that's a topic for another forum, I suppose.

 

The point is that nicotine is more powerful than many of us realize. I just read an analogy that nails it. Asking a nicotine addict why they keep smoking or chewing is like asking someone driving a car with no brakes why they didn't stop at the stop light. Nicotine somehow takes away our breaks, our ability to stop. I spent 30 years in that car with no brakes, my foot duct-taped to the accelerator and my hands epoxied to the wheel. What this site did was help me find a way to stop the damn car and keep it stopped until some sanity returned.

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Holy Mackerel!!!

 

Do I need to become the new "Ann Landers?"

 

Dear Truckerick........ "Blah, Blah, Blah.....

 

I actually have some pretty good insight. But... As Jack Nickelson said in a "Few Good Men" "You have to... ask me nicely."

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I have been talking to much2long a bit and totally get what you guys are going through. Except truckerick - don't get him :-). I will write something soon, in the mean time, check out my little article: http://forum.qssn.org/index.php?showtopic=976 . I feel it makes some of the points I will likely make again.

Cool analogy with the mine shaft. Also it was nice to hear you acknowledge God was a part of your quit.

 

In a new twist, today I was completely overwrought with anxiety. I know myself well enough now to warn my wife that anything I do or say in these circumstances is not her fault. When I brought it up, it came to me that I felt exactly like I did during my first few days of nicotine withdrawal. Only this time there was no urge to chew.

 

I'd been having a very "up" winter until now. What's changed? I ended 90 days of daily rigorous exercise last week, and my diet went from healthy to crap. I've been 'celebrating' the end of p90x by relaxing and eating anything I please. I was reminded by the wife that I used to suffer from S.A.D., seasonal affective disorder. In short, lack of sunshine brings depression. An almost instant cure is 20 minutes or more under 500-1000 watt work lights, up close, while I read. If winter depression is a pattern for anyone here, I highly recommend the light therapy. It's remarkable how quickly it can change the outlook.

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I'm curious if anyone else has had anxiety get worse. I have been quit for over a year now and have much more than I can ever remember. I used to think I was invincible and used dip to get me through pretty much everything. Now I am to the point where I am considering a visit to a psychiatrist; I'm not going to start dipping again but something has to give.

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I'm curious if anyone else has had anxiety get worse. I have been quit for over a year now and have much more than I can ever remember. I used to think I was invincible and used dip to get me through pretty much everything. Now I am to the point where I am considering a visit to a psychiatrist; I'm not going to start dipping again but something has to give.

I qualified to be part of a study on depression shortly after I'd quit dipping. I found AA and realized some truths about my alcoholism, so I never went through with it. You may wanna search the Internet. Depending on your views, a clinical study could be a cheaper alternative, and help advance studies on anxiety and depression for all of us. Good luck

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I am an anxious person. My father being an UNrecovered alcoholic as long as I can remember - in and out of rehab, etc. He is also an anxious person, running from his demons - expecting everyone to catch him when he falls. I am 24 years old and always dipped to cope with my stress. I do not drink or oblige to any other addictive callings. I just dip and I dipped alot. I need a vice to distract me from my day to day stresses and anxieties. About a 3 years ago after graduating college (I was not quitting at that time or even wanted to) I had a full blown panic attack, could not leave my room, eat, work out, see friends, etc. I was at rock bottom. I came to realize I have an addictive personality and dip, among other things, allowed me to shelter myself from my emotions and parts of reality. Now for good, I have decided to quit. Me being the type of person that always needs a vice, has looked into these herbal dips, hopefully these atleast help with the oral fixation. I have a loving girlfriend, who stuck with me through my anxiety and panic attacks. I've had to learn to do things all over again, that I used to do so freely before. Like, go to the city, go out to eat dinner, go to a bar, etc. I had to relearn all these things and conquer them with anxiety laughing on my shoulder. I now would like to continue my journey without dipping, so I can finally cross it off my list.

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I am an anxious person. My father being an UNrecovered alcoholic as long as I can remember - in and out of rehab, etc. He is also an anxious person, running from his demons - expecting everyone to catch him when he falls. I am 24 years old and always dipped to cope with my stress. I do not drink or oblige to any other addictive callings. I just dip and I dipped alot. I need a vice to distract me from my day to day stresses and anxieties. About a 3 years ago after graduating college (I was not quitting at that time or even wanted to) I had a full blown panic attack, could not leave my room, eat, work out, see friends, etc. I was at rock bottom. I came to realize I have an addictive personality and dip, among other things, allowed me to shelter myself from my emotions and parts of reality. Now for good, I have decided to quit. Me being the type of person that always needs a vice, has looked into these herbal dips, hopefully these atleast help with the oral fixation. I have a loving girlfriend, who stuck with me through my anxiety and panic attacks. I've had to learn to do things all over again, that I used to do so freely before. Like, go to the city, go out to eat dinner, go to a bar, etc. I had to relearn all these things and conquer them with anxiety laughing on my shoulder. I now would like to continue my journey without dipping, so I can finally cross it off my list.

Try religion and exercise. They both help with anxiety.

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I have recently discovered that all my anxiety disappeared as soon as I decided that it was time to separate or divorce my wife. Long story short, it didn't happen (yet, anyway), but the fear is gone. I feel freer than I ever have. I had been living in fear of being myself, fear of being rejected, fear of financial ruin if I divorced, fear of what divorce would do to my kids. Now I am over the fear. That door is always an option, and for some reason, even if I don't open that door, it helps to know I am no longer trapped. I am here because I want to be.

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I have recently discovered that all my anxiety disappeared as soon as I decided that it was time to separate or divorce my wife. Long story short, it didn't happen (yet, anyway), but the fear is gone. I feel freer than I ever have. I had been living in fear of being myself, fear of being rejected, fear of financial ruin if I divorced, fear of what divorce would do to my kids. Now I am over the fear. That door is always an option, and for some reason, even if I don't open that door, it helps to know I am no longer trapped. I am here because I want to be.

I had an almost immediate, measurable stress relief when I quit dipping. I hid it from my wife and had lived with that "secret" for almost 20 years. When I did come clean, it was so unbelievably cathartic for me. I still have some stuff I need to deal with, but I no longer live in a constant state of fear.

Good thread, SM. I've never read it.

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I was able to alleviate pretty much all of my anxiety when I quit drinking. I was sneaking around with that more than I was dipping.

After I quit drinking I really saw how much I was hiding it from my wife. How much I was sneaking around, trying to fit in a couple here couple there, etc.

Once I quit, I have so much more time to do things, think about other things,

All the time that I spent thinking about when I was going to be able to get out for awhile for this/that (which 'this/that' was always getting done, but it always took a lot longer than it really takes, which she had no idea (oil changes, washing the car, running errands, etc)

 

I also knew I was going a bit far when I found out that I really thought a friend of mine was a genius when he told me a trick in orders to help not getting caught by the wife. I used the trick and it worked. That started to be somewhat my downfall because I knew I could always get away with a couple beers before coming home and she would have no idea I was out.

 

I read a couple posts back on here and someone else was talking about drinking, I saw it hadn't been brought up for awhile so I thought i'd throw my two cents in.

I am 240 something days quit, and I haven't had a lick of anxiety since. I am more free to talk with my wife after I admitted I had a problem. We are closer than ever, and I feel there isn't a sneaky lie between us every waking hour.(and the bedroom is a lot more steamy also ;)

 

If you feel you may have a problem, or just want to see what it's like, the No Booze Crew always has coffee, fountain pop, water, and there is always some snacks sitting around;

most of all there is always an open seat.

 

Free of Dip, Free of Booze, and Free of Anxiety

 

Duf

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