Making Mindful Choices in a Drinking Culture
Hello and welcome to Healing From Within. I am your host Sheryl Glick Reiki Master Teacher energy practitioner and author of my newest book in a trilogy A New Life Awaits: Spirit Guided Insights to Support Global Awakening and am delighted to welcome Lisa Boucher author of Raising the Bottom to discuss best ways to deal with living in troubled times and in a drinking culture. The Coronavirus pandemic lockdowns and schools closed along with economic problems across the nation has increased stress and naturally people trying to deal with it all sometimes overdue drinking leading to many other emotional and health issues.
Hello Lisa and thank you for joining us on Healing From Within to address a subject which many fail to observe or talk about and in almost every family there is some kind of alcohol abuse going on.
Lisa As listeners of Healing From Within know my guests and I share intimate stories that illuminate the duality of spiritual energetic and physical aspects of life so we may come to answer age old questions of Who We are, how life originated and come to create better lives through knowing answers to these relevant questions. Life as an eternal energy force allows us to know that the answers lie within our soul wisdom and real happiness does not come from the outside world or a drink, drugs wealth and hedonistic pursuits.
In today’s episode of Healing From Within Lisa Boucher will offer hope to many listeners who may be struggling with alcohol and other addictions letting them know they are not alone during these especially challenging times and will help them examine and become aware of their behaviors identify any problem areas and stop destructive patterns before they make one feel so helpless to find ways to cope.
- Lisa I alway around them the lifestyle and work they might embrace as an adult for I believe the life plan and destiny of each of us begins within the soul and we are here to find greater love and peace from within which has nothing to do with the outside world and the problems we perceive realistically or create through fear.
Lisa tells us how grateful she is to choose not to drink and not follow the path of her mother and others who she saw suffer so much from drinking, She wrote, “The biggest testimony that I made a great decision in 1989 to quit drinking is that I’m not the same person I used to be. By God’s grace, my twins have only known a sober mother. I have changed in a big way—and all of the positive modifications allowed me to complete my education, hold a job, stay married to the same man for thirty-plus years, and raise my sons, both of whom went on to become Division I athletes, graduate college, and secure jobs. Not bad for what certainly would have been a very different outcome had I not quit drinking.
- So how do people who have come from an alcoholic family and maybe genetically predisposed to alcoholism through genetic influences handle living in a boozy culture? Recovery meetings can be found all over the world. They’re free, and they work. Some people find sobriety in the church. Others have tried programs such as Moderation Management (MM), which asks people to set guidelines and women to keep to no more than nine drinks a week.5 The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism’s guideline for women is no more than seven drinks a week. MM says they want to reach the early problem drinker who doesn’t want to be Women and Alcohol: It’s Complicated 81 labeled an alcoholic—but that panders to the denial and alcoholic ego that needs to be checked anyway. Not labeling yourself an alcoholic when in fact you are an alcoholic nixes any chance for real recovery. Recovery is about getting honest. Addiction causes changes in the brain. It’s a real problem that has nothing to do with willpower, which is another misconception that must be smashed. There are people out there, many working in medicine, who still think alcoholism or drug addiction is just a matter of will power, morals, or the ability to say no. That fallacy does nothing to help the suffering. As chemical dependency counselor John C. points out in his upcoming story, “The saddest thing is when a person asks for help and they’re pointed in the wrong direction.”
- Why did you decide to write this book at this time?
Lisa always felt destined to write but perhaps her most important project was to use her personal and professional experience to write about alcoholism and help others to see what starts out as supposedly FUN is really a deadly disease with consequences.
Lisa wrote in Raising the Bottom, ”Early or potential alcoholism manifests in ways that, unless you understand the disease, no one labels as alcoholism: multiple marriages, anxiety, health problems, weight problems, lives plagued by resentment, and chaotic relationships with family and friends. I’ve been immersed in alcoholism since my first breath of life. Like others who were once immersed in the mayhem of the disease and now are recovering, I’ve become an expert at recognizing alcoholism and all of the subtleties that I hate: I hate what it does to women, their families, and especially their children, who have little say-so in the matter. We are conditioned to believe that alcohol is synonymous with fun, yet for so many families, alcohol bites back in the form of dysfunctional or broken homes, domestic violence, health problems, fractured relationships, and devastating mishaps. From afar, I recognize the disease swirling around families, yet they remain oblivious to the looming heartaches on the horizon, all because they lack knowledge and don’t understand the many faces of alcoholism
- What are some of the ways a person can begin to deal with this addiction and what are some of the long -term consequences of those who become alcoholics and overdrink?
Through reading their stories, as well as anecdotes from other women, you’ll come to learn the truth of the statement found in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous that female drinkers experience condemned futures far sooner than males. No one wants to be the downer at the party, but for a lot of women, alcohol is an Introduction xv problem—yet they go to the party anyway. Talk of saturated lives and jaundice elicits nary a blink. Women tell me they drink because they have problems, when the truth is that they have problems because they drink. The solution stares us in the face, but we don’t like the option, so we move on to something else: antidepressants, therapy, self-help books, yoga, holistic healers—the list goes on . . . my God, just don’t tell me to quit drinking.
Is Mixing Alcohol and Drugs Dangerous? Yes. This article starts by discussing the general and specific dangers of mixing alcohol with other popular drugs like benzodiazepines and opioids. Next, we discuss mixing alcohol with drugs to treat common mental health conditions like depression and anxiety. We end the article by exploring addiction treatment options for alcohol use disorders.
Is Alcohol a Drug?
Yes. Alcohol is a drug that affects the central nervous system (CNS). It has a proven ability to temporarily diminish mental capacity and create uncoordinated movement.
Is Alcohol a Depressant?
Yes. Alcohol is a depressant when drunk in excess. It works by blocking certain receptors in the brain. The result is slowed cognitive function.
Is Alcohol a Stimulant?
No. Alcohol is not a stimulant. However, the first few drinks of alcohol cause dopamine (the happy chemical) to be released by the brain. This
General Dangers of Mixing Alcohol and Other Substances
Because alcohol is the most widely available mind-altering substance, it is frequently mixed with other drugs. However, mixing alcohol with other drugs can be dangerous.
The risk of overdosing while intoxicated is increased greatly when mixing with alcohol. Alcohol tends to worsen the negative effects of other drugs or reduce their effectiveness. Common causes for overdose include liver failure, severe depression of the central nervous system, blood poisoning, heart failure, and asphyxiation.
Alcohol affects decision making, reaction time, and the senses. Because of this, alcohol-impaired drivers cause almost 30 accidents per day. In fact, alcohol causes nearly 28% of all fatal traffic accidents. A majority of drunk driving accidents occur on the weekends or near holidays. The fine for a DUI can cost up to $6,000.00 in some states and can also result in being charged with a felony. Mixing alcohol, even when not operating a vehicle, can lead to accidental bodily harm caused by uncoordinated movement and lowered senses.
Specific Dangers by Class of Drug
Depressants and Alcohol
Depressants and alcohol have compounding effects. Alcohol as a depressant works in conjunction with other depressants to severely slow the CNS. This can result in:
- Labored breathing
- Extreme fatigue
- Poor memory
- Liver failure
- Long-term dependency
Depressants and alcohol have compounding effects. Alcohol as a depressant works in conjunction with other depressants to severely slow the CNS. This can result in:
- Xanax (alprazolam)
- Ativan (lorazepam)
- Klonopin (clonazepam)
Depressants and alcohol cause a number of negative effects in the body. The most profound effect they have is on memory. Depressants and alcohol can cause extreme memory loss. This happens due to a breakdown between short and long-term memory more commonly known as a blackout.
Stimulants and Alcohol
There’s a misconception that mixing alcohol with a stimulant can cancel out the effects of both. In actuality, alcohol and stimulates effect completely different parts of the body. This means they’re not so much canceling out but instead are working independently. However, the misconception that stimulants and alcohol cancel out can lead to further abuse of both drugs. The increased chemical intake of mixing alcohol can put massive stress on the liver. The resulting liver failure causes unfiltered toxins to be released back into the body. We’ve listed a few of the commonly abused stimulants:
The main concern when mixing alcohol and stimulants, or even taking stimulants alone, is heart issues. In excess, stimulants and alcohol cause a dramatically increased heart rate, high blood pressure, and confusion. The main causes of death are heart attack, stroke, arrhythmia, and seizure. Long-term abuse of stimulants and alcohol can lead to a permanently weakened heart. This is due to prolonged rapid heartbeats and small, unnoticed heart attacks.
Opiates/Opioids and Alcohol
Opioids vary between prescription medication and controlled substances. Opiates and alcohol have a synergetic effect on the CNS. The side effects of opiates and alcohol are:
- Sensory disruption
- Manic behavior
- Depressed breathing
Here is a list of common opiates and opioids:
The greatest risk of mixing alcohol and opioids is hypoxia. Hypoxia occurs when insufficient air reaches the muscles and brain. Opiates and alcohol increase the risk of hypoxia by disrupting the CNS. Hypoxia can be fatal within minutes without help.
Painkillers and Alcohol
Tramadol is a name brand opioid that shares the same risk as other opioids. This includes drowsiness, confusion, and hypoxia. Using Tramadol and alcohol increases these risks. Any mixture of painkillers and alcohol can have severe side effects. Furthermore, painkillers are often prescribed after surgery or injury.
However, alcohol lowers the immune system and slows down the healing process. As such, mixing painkillers and alcohol is as counter-intuitive as it is dangerous. Painkillers and alcohol also put a severe strain on the liver. Specific Dangers From Drugs That Treat Medical Conditions
Generally, chronic pain medication is a prescription to OxyContin or other opioids. This means they share all of the following side effects:
- Sensory disruption
- Manic behavior
- Depressed breathing
- Sleep Disorders Sleep disorder medication and alcohol can be especially dangerous. During sleep, the heart rate is lowered along with breathing. Adding a chemical cocktail of depressants can lead to an accidental overdose.
Common sleep disorder medications include:
The combination of sleep medicine and alcohol can lead to hypoxia, brain damage from lack of oxygen, comas, and severe lethargy. Long-term mild use of sleep medication and alcohol can prolong insomnia and sleep-related illness. This is due to alcohol’s effect on REM sleep.
Antibiotics and Alcohol
Some antibiotics should be avoided when drinking alcohol. Metronidazole or tinidazole and alcohol can cause the following symptoms:
- Feeling sick
- Hot Flashes
- Stomach pain
- Irregular heartbeat
Combining linezolid and alcohol can cause dangerous increases in blood pressure. While mixing doxycycline and alcohol will reduce the effectiveness of the antibiotic.
Dangers From Drugs That Treat Mental Health Conditions
Despite any short-term euphoria, mixing alcohol and anxiety can have negative effects. Alcohol can lessen the amount of serotonin (the other happy chemical) and wreak havoc on communication between parts of the brain.
Alcohol and anxiety both disrupt logical thought which can make negative thoughts all the stronger. Typically, benzodiazepines are prescribed for anxiety. These drugs include:
- ValiumThe main shared danger between these drugs is depressed breathing that borders on hypoxia. There is also a high chance of acute liver failure.
Studies have shown a link between bipolar disorder and alcohol. Alcohol affects mood and chemical balances in the brain. A person with bipolar disorder may already be dealing with issues regarding brain chemistry. This means alcohol runs the risk of furthering these issues. Alcohol can also induce a manic state in someone with a bipolar disorder. A manic state is characterized by a rush of euphoria, rapid speech, and a shorter attention span.
Common medications for bipolar disorder include:
- LamictalMixing mood stabilizers and alcohol can cause negative effects because alcohol and most mood stabilizers have similar side effects. This includes drowsiness, irritability, and confusion.
Borderline Personality Disorder Unlike bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder changes can occur instantly and disappear within hours. In contrast, changes from bipolar disorder can last months. There isn’t a shared consensus as to what causes borderline personality disorder. However, brain chemistry is assumed to be a major factor. This means mixing alcohol with borderline personality disorder can intensify the effects of the disorder. Borderline personality disorders can be treated with the same drugs as bipolar disorder. It’s worth noting that treatment for this condition can be a combination of medication for antipsychotic, anti-depressant, and anti-anxiety. However, the biggest threat in this case is the harm to natural brain chemistry. Mixing a borderline personality disorder with alcohol can cause severe synaptic misfiring, worsening depression, and more frequent mood shifts.
Having depression and an alcohol use disorder is a common occurrence. Depression affects millions of people every year. It is one of the most prevalent mental health issues. Depression and alcohol abuse can cause dependency and worsened depression. Alcohol lowers levels of serotonin and dopamine resulting in increased risk or symptoms of depression. Depression could be caused by genetics, environment, brain chemistry, or any combination of the 3. However, it is generally characterized by negative thoughts and moods. Alcohol can not only increase the likelihood of negative thought but also lower cognitive function. This results in negative thoughts that can seem inescapable. Depression medication can include:
For the most part, depression medication and alcohol have compounding effects. This means one of the biggest risks when mixing is an overdose from acute liver failure.
PTSD is characterized by negative thoughts, uncontrollable mood swings, altered brain chemistry, and hallucinations. Alcohol and PTSD are a volatile combination. Alcohol can counteract PTSD medication and increase the severity of the symptoms. PTSD medication can include:
- ProzacMixing these drugs with alcohol can cause heart issues, liver failure, stroke, and high blood pressure. However, the biggest concern is the increased risk of suicide.
All above information taken from Tom Anderson Education Coordinator for www.blueprintsforrecovery.com
- What organizations or places or treatments are available to help people find support?
Treating Addiction to Alcohol and Other Substances
Getting treatment for alcohol addiction is better done sooner than later. This is especially true when there are underlying illnesses and other substance use. Addiction rewires the brain and relapse can occur because of emotional triggers, environmental changes, and more. Professional help for addiction will typically include the following.
Therapy can help discover the cause of addiction. It can also provide coping mechanisms for dealing with emotional triggers. Therapy also provides a safe space to work through issues. Lastly, therapy can help smooth the transition from addiction to a stable and thriving life.
Medicine can help ease the physical symptoms of withdrawal. Addiction can cause a number of life-long illnesses including reduced liver capacity, high blood pressure, heart disease, and compromised immune systems. Medicine helps abate these symptoms.
Finding a healthy support system is a key step toward recovery. Recovery is a lifelong process and involves a community. Without a support system, the chance of relapse is increased. Lastly, a support system can help separate someone with a dependency from harmful influences.
- Can you tell us any of the success stories of people you have worked with and maybe some failures as well? First Lisa tells us her own choice to stop drinking and writes, “I quit drinking in my late twenties, and that decision mostly had to do with my then-sober mother, who pointed out that my drinking started to look shady. I chose to listen to her concerns, and because I listened, I saved myself from years of self-manufactured hell. With one healthy decision, the whole trajectory of my life changed. For twenty-three years I’ve been a registered nurse; I have seen and heard it all. I’ve worked in emergency rooms and psych wards, and both departments are magnets for dysfunctional drinkers and alcoholics. Lives implode all over the place, and much of the time the blame is placed on everything but the drinking or the prescription- or xvi Raising the Bottom street-drug use. Furthermore, most doctors know nothing about alcoholism or addiction—they can barely spot a real alcoholic, let alone a budding alcoholic. There, I said it. Health care needs a complete overhaul in this area
- Is it possible for some people to have a moderate amount of drinking without being compromised or addicted to it? What type of person might this be in your estimation?
Lisa wrote, “ I have come to learn one truth: women who don’t have drinking problems never get accused of having drinking problems. Twenty- eight years ago, when my own mother mentioned my drinking, she recognized a shift—it was in my behavior and the way I drank. When people start to mention your drinking, it’s because they’ve seen a change; your actions are no longer isolated. Your family, your friends, your employer—no one is going to tell you that they think you drink too much, unless of course it’s true that you do. And when they do speak up, what other motive would they possibly have other than that they care?”
Sheryl says that drinking and drug addiction can also present as a genetic predisposition if parents or grandparents had a drinking problem. Could be genetic then.
Lisa says, “I’ve lived with an active alcoholic in one form or another my entire life—and, well, it takes one to know one. Chaos and crises become a way of life that seems normal. Often women recognize they have a problem, but plenty of them are okay with that knowledge and party on until the bottom falls out. I’ve worked with hundreds of women over the years, and the common thread is that most all the women dubbed themselves social drinkers, myself included, until we learned that there was nothing social about the way we drank. In addition, most alcoholics are functional and hold jobs—people don’t realize that either. As for the mothers whose stories are in this book, all said their biggest regret was that they were not present for their children, mentally and/ or emotionally. They all agreed they got caught up in their selfishness, depression, and self-centeredness, and that they turned inward, failing to recognize that right under their noses their children were in jeopardy.
Sheryl says in becoming an alcoholic or addict some person from a drinking background or family may have a predisposed or genetic factor and may take that one drink and the switch is turned on and they need to continue infusing their bodies with the addictive substance. Often these people come from families where parents or grandparents had a problem with substance abuse. So the key might be to tell children not to start in the first place. The consequences to health prosperity and long- term relationships are major and affect all areas of a person’s life once the disease spirals out of control. For listeners who would like to hear more about families handling this from Marc Treitler and his daughter Lianna who wrote about his family’s genetic predisposition to alcoholism and how they conquered it, read their book Alcohol Drugs You and Your Children and listen to the interview that can be found on Healing From Within website www.sherylglick.com November 2019 Special Edition.
What would you tell your kids or teenagers in general about drinking or doing drugs? The women Lisa writes about range from the über bright—a board certified surgeon who holds a PhD in neurophysiology (she admits she learned nothing and knew nothing about alcoholism despite all her education and medical training)—to a former Washington DC socialite, to a teacher, nurses, a massage therapist turned jewelry maker, and another physician who admits she used to pass out while breastfeeding her fourth child.
Most of the women had no idea their problems were caused by alcohol. None felt they fit the stereotypical mold of what they thought a problem drinker or alcoholic looked like. All of them, like me, were baffled by their behavior, confused by serial marriages, broken by an unexplained emptiness, and devastated by a loneliness and spiritual bankruptcy that only an alcoholic or addict can understand.
Through all the misery, anyone peering at our lives from the outside in might see suburban normalcy, privilege, or even wealth. I purposely sought out women who were like me when they quit drinking—women who looked like they could not have a problem with alcohol. For most of us, it was inner turmoil that precipitated our higher bottoms.
Families often contribute to the problem. It takes courage to stand up to the family members whose only idea of fun includes copious amounts of drinks, even when you insist that you want a better quality of life than cocktails, bars, and getting blotto on the beach.
Sheryl says It has been discovered that the younger you become involved with alcohol or drugs the greater the risk of becoming addicted to it.
- What would you like readers of Raising the Bottom Making Mindful Choices in a Drinking Culture to take away with them after reading the book?
Lisa might want women to remember why they might not show up fully mature and independent and need alcohol as a crutch to face life’s challenges. What would a grown-up do? Sometimes we roar through life and have no idea how to show up as an adult.
All of the women in this book showed up for life in a less-than-adorable manner. It’s not so much the things that happened to us in life that hurt us, it’s our reaction to those things and the way we think about our struggles that caused all the pain.
If you think you’d benefit from not drinking but the thought of not drinking elicits a loud groan and an overwhelming sense of panic, keep reading. Maybe you will discover some shadowy but necessary truths about yourself.
Women who drink too much or abuse prescription or illegal drugs seem to possess one of several unhealthy mindsets, and most of those mindsets are governed by fear. Fear wears hundreds of different outfits
Fear may show up as a control freak who tries to micromanage everyone’s life, including family, coworkers, lovers, spouses, and friends. This woman wants to control the uncontrollable. She is terrified of letting go.
Fear may also show up as a perfectionist. This is the woman who fears she won’t be good enough and genuinely wants people to like her. However, she may go about it the wrong way. She forces her will on people, places, and situations that she has no business trying to control. Then, when people push back, this same woman cries and wonders why everyone is so mean!
Fear may show up with low self-esteem, and it can manifest in other ways too. For example, I felt entitled to bitch about everyone and everything, without ever looking at my part in the chaos. Other people crave special attention just so they can feel normal. Sure, women who don’t drink may have some of these personality defects, but we need not worry about the women who can have one or two glasses of wine and be done for the month. We’re talking about the woman riddled with deep-seated fears, emotions, and/or unresolved longings who has found her solution to be alcohol.
I want to thank you Lisa Boucher RN author of Raising the Bottom for addressing a topic I have been concerned about for a long time and now in these unusually heightened stressful times for mothers and other women dealing with a deadly plague that has affected every country every family and workplace in the world increasing political religious and economic changes happening just like a tennis ball machine shooting their balls out at rapid speed dealing with overkill tendencies towards alcoholism or other addictions or full blown alcoholic episodes which over the long haul damage the health and lifespan of the abuser is a must talk about story and we must find help for as many as we can. To read more about detecting and helping those with alcohol abuse go to www.raisingthebottom.com
In summarizing today’s episode of Healing From Within we have discussed the signs, symptoms and long term effects that excessive use of alcohol or other addictions can have on the health of family life, children relationships and work status that will all be affected if the disease is not addressed and conquered.
Lisa wrote, “ I’ve worked in emergency rooms and psych wards for over twenty years. That’s a lot of undocumented research; I have friends who work in hospitals all over the country. Their experiences mirror my own—substance abuse in one form or another contributes to an overwhelming amount of hospital admissions, either directly or indirectly. What I’ve seen is that people end up in emergency rooms and psych wards because of substance abuse. The traumas, the wrecks, the falls, the esophageal varices, the bad livers, the cocaine-induced heart attacks, the fights, the shootings and stabbings, the depression, the anxiety, the generalized malaise that seems to overtake too many young people and sends them in search of antidepressants and disability checks—all too often, these have the common denominator of alcohol and/or drugs.
Lisa and Sheryl would have our listeners know that life is a precious gift and the birthright of our soul is happiness and health, but the physical world relationships and economic stresses put a burden on the heart and mind of so many people often traumatized in childhood who carry the wounds of life that can lead to alcoholism and abuses. Finding sources that can help is the key to conquering this disease and Please begin to ask for help from family, friends and Spirit. Help will come.
I am Sheryl Glick host of Healing From Within and invite you to visit my website www.sherylglick.com to read about and listen to metaphysicians changemakers spiritualists scientists healers energy workers educators and those in the arts and music fields who seek to support the evolution of our human and divine process. Shows may also be heard on www.webtalkradio.net and www.dreamvisions7radio.com