WHDD Radio, With Janina Kean, September 8, 2015

Question

I know that the big book talks about the queer mental blank spots which precede the first drink and that the only effective mental defense must come from a higher power. What do I do in that or how do I avoid that situation?

Transcript

Marshall:             Right now it’s time to bring in Janina Kean from High Watch Recovery Center in Kent, Connecticut, for Sober Spotlight. We open up our telephone lines at 1-855-747-9433 or 860-364-5141, and we say good morning to Janina Kean. Good morning Janina.

Janina:                  Good morning Marshall. Good morning Jill. How are you both?

Jill:                          Fantastic.

Marshall:             We’re fine.

Jill:                          Fantastic, just fantastic. [inaudible 00:00:21]. I announced to Marshall very briefly, I don’t know why I don’t change the cat litter outside. I now know why I don’t change the cat litter outside.

Marshall:             Very good reason. We’ve got someone very patiently waiting on the telephone. Hi, do you have a question for Janina?

Janina:                  Hello.

Nick:                      Hello, my name is Nick.

Janina:                  Nick?

Nick:                      Yes.

Janina:                  Hi Nick, how are you?

Nick:                      I’m doing all right.

Janina:                  I’m Janina as you probably know.

Nick:                      Hello Janina.

Janina:                  How are you?

Nick:                      Doing all right this morning.

Janina:                  Good.

Nick:                      I recently relapsed after about 4 and a half months of sobriety. I was working the AA program doing all the things I was supposed to be doing. The mental obsession came back like a thunderbolt and became paramount to all of the things in life. I felt like only an act of God could have stopped me from walking into that corner store, so I drank. I know that the big book talks about the queer mental blank spots which precede the first drink and that the only effective mental defense must come from a higher power. What do I do in that or how do I avoid that situation?

Janina:                  You were sober for 4 and a half months?

Nick:                      Correct.

Janina:                  What was your program? What were you doing for your recovery in those 4 and a half months.

Nick:                      Every day I was going to my meeting. I’d start my day on my knees in the prayer. Every morning I had 7am home group working with my sponsor, working the steps doing everything I was supposed to be doing.

Janina:                  Were you on any medication?

Nick:                      Antabuse and Gabapentin.

Janina:                  Why not not Naltrexone?

Nick:                      I had taken it before in the past, but I didn’t have it due to some insurance problems.

Janina:                  The Antabuse isn’t going to decrease your cravings. Why are you on Gabapentin?

Nick:                      They had continued that for me for part of some … A tick in my left leg.

Janina:                  You have a tremor?

Nick:                      Kind of like that.

Janina:                  Any co-occurring disorder? Any diagnosis with anxiety, depression?

Nick:                      Anxiety.

Janina:                  Is the Gabapentin for the anxiety? How are they treating the anxiety because it doesn’t sound like it.

Nick:                      At the time I was being treated with prescriptions for that.

Janina:                  You may need a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor for the anxiety. What may have sent you reeling into that liquor store is anxiety, untreated anxiety. It sounds like you might have a co-occurring disorder, correct?

Nick:                      Yes, that’s correct. Anxiety, definitely.

Janina:                  Anything else?

Nick:                      No.

Janina:                  You have an untreated anxiety disorder. That’s probably what the alcohol over the years has been doing for you Nick is treating the anxiety.

Nick:                      Right.

Janina:                  Would you say that’s correct?

Nick:                      Partly.

Janina:                  If you take away the alcohol, what helps with the anxiety? See what I mean?

Nick:                      Prayer and meditation.

Janina:                  No. I think that’s good to do, but I’m not sure that that will treat a co-occurring disorder.

Nick:                      I wasn’t like some … I definitely felt some compounding anxiety up until that moment, but the thought of drinking was never there. It struck me out of nowhere.

Janina:                  Lots of times that lymphatic system and that pleasure center where all this addiction is activated is very connected to memory. They go hand in hand. In your memory, in your brain you remember that when your anxiety is really compounding, the thing that you can do, to help that anxiety is to pick up a drink. That may be what got triggered off in your brain. You had compounded anxiety and you knew how to deal with restless irritableness and discontent. That is by picking up a drink. The next thing you know you’re driving into that parking lot into that liquor store and you’re picking up the alcohol.

I would go back to someone who could prescribe for you something for your anxiety disorder. Actually if you could somehow find a way to get … And you may be able to contact the drug company, the Naltrexone may also help with decreasing cravings for you. Antabuse is only as good as if you take it, and then it’s better served if someone else is giving it to you and that they’re making sure that you’re not cheeking it. In other words, taking it but not really taking it. Antabuse is really a … If you want to drink, you just stop taking the Antabuse for a a day or 2. Correct?

Nick:                      Right, I actually drank on it that day.

Janina:                  That’s dangerous.

Nick:                      I know. I found that out first thing.

Janina:                  That’s very, very dangerous. I would go back to a treater to treat the anxiety disorder. I would contact the manufacturers of Naltrexone. See if there’s any way they can offer some kind of assistance. A lot of these drug companies do, for you to get that Naltrexone or that VIVITROL shot, which might even be better that might help decrease the cravings for the alcohol. Naltrexone works wonders for cravings with alcoholics.

Nick:                      Right.

Janina:                  Continue doing your program. Continue doing your meetings. Continue going twice a day to your meetings. Continue with prayer and meditation. Do all that, but in addition to all of that, treat the anxiety disorder.

Nick:                      All right, thank you.

Janina:                  Thank you Nick. Thank you for calling.

Nick:                      All right.

Janina:                  Bye bye.

Nick:                      Bye.

Marshall:             Prayer is good, but it can’t solve everything.

Janina:                  No, it can’t. It can help along, but when you have an untreated co-occurring disorder that he probably drank down all his life, if he’s not treating it now, he’s going to drink it down eventually.

Marshall:             I think that’s one of the things that I’ll say that modern day treating of substance abuse is that it used to be a substance abuser was cut off from everything 100% and one of the advances that are made, that, no no, you just can’t do that.

Jill:                          You can’t tease it apart. It’s really important. I’m not sure how many people who are doing the abusing realize that. You could just hear the slight glimmer of, “Maybe the liquor was for the anxiety.” You’ve now opened a little pathway. Wouldn’t that be interesting? Wouldn’t that, if you will, being a scientific term, explain everything.

Marshall:             If anybody has any other questions for you, they can contact you.

Janina:                  At High Watch, which is 860-927-3772. I will see you guys next week.

Marshall:             All right Janina. Thanks.

Janina:                  Thank you. Bye.

Marshall:             Janina Kean from High Watch Recovery Center in Kent, Connecticut, joins us of course every Tuesday right around 8:20 to 8:30 and we open up the phone lines at 860-364-5141 and 1-855-747-9433. Highwatchrecovery.com on the web.