Cutting out alcohol – advice please!

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    • #181168


      I’m a 45 year old male who’s very recently been diagnosed with ADHD, predominantly inattentive type, with related emotional dysregulation and performance anxiety.
      It’s certainly answered most of my life’s persistent questions and concerns about why i feel the way i do, which is fantastic.

      I’ve started medication which is certainly helping my ADHD symptoms during the active hours of the drug but i’m concerned about my drinking. After reading quite a bit online about the link between alcohol abuse and ADHD it makes complete sense to me now why i can’t stop reaching for that next beer or glass of wine after i’ve started (typically in the evening when the meds start to wear off).

      Ideally i’d like to give up alcohol all together but due to my career (creative arts and entertainment), location (London) and general interests (socialising, travelling, live music and dining etc) it seems like an almost impossible challenge. Being born in Burton-on-Trent (the global epicentre of beer brewing), it is quite literally in my blood!

      After some recent bad experiences with domestic arguments no doubt attributed to drinking and the negative effects it has on my emotional dysregulation i really want to address the issue.

      I was wondering if anyone had any tips or advice for drastically reducing alcohol intake or cutting it out altogether and beating the persistent craving for it that ADHD creates.

      Any books you’ve read that helped, any organisations you’ve spoken to that offered support, plans you’ve followed etc. Any advice at all would be great.


    • #181192
      Penny Williams

      There’s a great Guest blog on ADDitude by Frank South, who talks about drinking, sobriety, ADHD, and being in the entertainment industry.

      ADDitude Community Moderator, Parenting ADHD Coach, Podcaster & Author, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism

      • #181277

        I have been dealing with a similar problem with alcohol, especially since the pandemic has left us stuck at home.

        I just started a medication that may help you. it’s Naltrexone. It’s used to treat opioid addiction, and is also very successful for alcohol, especially if you want to significantly reduce but not necessarily completely give it up. There is something called “the Sinclair method” where you take the medication an hour before you have a drink. The medication reduces the pleasure your brain gets from drinking. So after a couple drinks you don’t feel the need to continue.

        It’s been very helpful and allowed me to significantly reduce the amount I was drinking.

      • #182406

        Yes the lockdown has certainly seen an increase in my drinking too.

        I will ask my GP about Naltrexone thanks, as i’m only just starting the ADHD meds and still in the titration phase i imagine they’ll probably want to avoid introducing anything else into the mix just now.

        I’m curious, as Naltrexone / The Sinclair Method simply reduces the desire for alcohol, that still leaves me with the problem that my ADHD brain will get ‘noisy’ again as my meds wear off in the afternoon… typically the reason i will reach for a drink (and of course ADHD being the same reason i can’t say no to another one or five after).

        Has anyone had success with other means of relaxation that might go someway to replicating or replacing the calming effects that alcohol has on the ADHD brain?

        I’ve tried a few obvious things in the past pre-diagnosis (mindfulness, yoga, herbal tea etc.) but they’re just not for me.

    • #181728

      Heya, in true ADHD fashion I got super excited about replying to your post because going alcohol-free was an obsession of mine and then I wrote something incredibly long and incoherent so I’ll try to keep it short!

      What worked for me was focusing on all the positives and gains from going alcohol-free. Going in with a completely open mind (which means you don’t have to quit until you want to) and dismantling your belief system. Once I did that, I was able to feel freedom instead of deprivation 🙂 it’s a little reductive, but once you get started it can be super interesting and really fun!

      Annie Grace’s work, This Naked Mind and her podcasts helped me answer a lot of questions around society, drinking culture (and why it exists) why we drink etc, Alcohol Explained by William Porter is good for understanding the science. ‘The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober’ is a fun perspective. I haven’t read Allen Carr’s but that’s supposed to be good (you’ve probably heard of his quitting smoking book, he’s not the comedian). Holly Whitaker is awesome too.

      If you’re into positive reinforcement and looking forward to a brighter future, I hope those help! It’s all about finding out why we have triggers (in EVERY facet of your relationship with alcohol) so you can reason yourself out of wanting it without being deprived!!

      It’s awesome to see someone else with an interest in this – you’re in for a fun ride!! Coming from an ex black out drinker with no off switch btw. Also from London. Quit at the ‘peak’ of my drinking, confusing everyone apart from myself. You know when you’re done, but you need to understand what beliefs are holding you back first.

      • #182482

        Hi Violetg and apologies for the late reply, i was unable to post on the forum for a while due to a technical hitch at ADDitude… all sorted now though i hope.

        Thanks for the advice, on your recommendation i went out and bought a copy of Allen Carr’s ‘The Easy Way to Control Alcohol’ (i thought it was the comedian at first too haha!) and look forward to reading it, i’m currently close to finishing Peter Shankman’s ‘Faster Than Normal’ which has been a great intro to my new normal and has some good advice on ADHD related alcohol problems too. He also talks a lot about understanding your triggers and building strategies for dealing with them.

        I’ve also just started my fortnightly coaching session with a psychological therapist (as part of my recent diagnosis and subsequent treatment plan) and we will also be covering alcohol related problems, yay!

        Although nothing quite relieves my overworking brain at the end of a working and parenting day like alcohol does, i’m starting to have hope that as my support networks grow (coaching, forums, adhd communities etc.) and my knowledge on the subject improves through reading i’ll be in a good place and positive mindset to cut-down and maybe even eventually live a life without alcohol and be all the fitter and happier for it.

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