Using Alcohol, Tobacco and Drugs as Coping Mechanism

I was asked to write about the use of alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs– concerning addiction and experiences in my own life.

I can say I have had issues with alcoholism when it comes to using it as a coping mechanism for my depression, and so I will start here for this blog post. I have not touched a drink for close to four years, but before that, I was an alcoholic. The bad part about my drinking was it had nothing to with social drinking, I preferred to drink alone in my writing area. I used the excuse of a good writing day as an excuse to drink to get blackout drunk, but it was just something to get past the depression, and it never worked.

The problem was that I was using alcohol as a crutch and it was hurting my recovery. I went to Vegas in 2014 and went on a real bender while on vacation. I was drinking from the moment I woke to the moment blacked out two or three the next morning. It only got worse. It got so bad that my best stories during this time in my life were so drunk that I don’t remember one of the Vegas nights at all, and yet I was doing a lot while drinking. Eventually, I quit drinking, got help, and I have been sober ever since.

There is some that claim that they do nothing to help with anxiety, and they’re probably right, but at the moment it helped a lot to have a cigarette when my anxiety was spiraling. I quit in 2014 for health reasons, but I did have a recent have a small relapse with have a single cigarette during a recent depression (with the new California Tobacco tax it is just too much to smoke.) But as with alcoholism, it was just a crutch.

When it comes to drugs I don’t have a whole lot experience but that many of our people in the mental illness community have turned to drugs as a way to cope. I high school, I used marijuana as a way to deal with depression and anxiety, and I was lucky enough not to have gotten into hard drugs.

Addiction and Mental Health

Mental health and addiction indeed come with the territory, and if you are struggling as I do with subjects like suicide is to find a way to quit and seek help. It is bad enough dealing with mental illness without addiction, but it won’t be easy. To quit alcohol and tobacco is was tough, and it was a struggle for years to get off these things.

We continue to fight because that is what we do. No matter what mental health recovery is the most important thing in this life. So find a way to wake each day and fight.

Always Keep Fighting

James

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5 Replies to “Using Alcohol, Tobacco and Drugs as Coping Mechanism”

  1. Thank you for sharing your experiences on this topic and congrats on the sobriety! I have alcoholics in my family, but thankfully I’ve never been much of a drinker. Maybe a few drinks a year will do. My coping mechanism is cigarettes. I know medically speaking they don’t help with anything, but I reach for them more when the depression, anxiety or pain levels are high. Good job quitting those too. Take care.

    1. I know that feeling. I have been wanting to smoke again with all the stress I am under. I know it doesn’t really help but it feels good in the moment. Been able to get through withnhoit.

      1. Good for you, for getting through without them. You got this! I hope the stress subsides for you soon.

  2. Congrats on four years sober! I have a month — been trying for three years now. Dealt with addiction for almost ten years (since I was 13-14 y/o)
    Can I ask how you stay sober without alcohol and drugs? I do well for a few months but then my impulsiveness or desire takes over and I need to use despite everything I build up for myself. I am not sad, or whatever, and used to escape my depression with substances.
    I will keep reading your blog – thank you

    1. I was never into hard drugs so that was easy. It’s willpower and talking all the time with my therapist about when my stress feels high and I need a vice. Alcohol is hard to resist there have been times I want to, but I got rid of the temptation. No more bottle of Jameson on my desk. It’s keeping my thoughts. I recently started vaping again so I am not happy about it but that is life and I am stressed. Eventually I will stop again when things calm down.

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