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Tapering with high blood pressure

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    Tapering with high blood pressure

    Tapering with high blood pressure. Hi everyone. I’m nervous posting this. I’ve been drinking 6-8 beers every night for two years. I want to taper. I’m very scared and could use encouragement. I’m so afraid of withdrawals and dying or hbu f hallucinations. I’m a smaller female. Any help is appreciated

    #2
    Hi there Betterlife2007 Welcome - you are in the right place for both encouragement and good accurate fact based advice. I'm fairly new here myself so will hold back on the advice side - there are a good few people who can help there and hopefully provide you with links that I can't find just now! (sorry). I can tell you that I'm a 5'4 female and last October I was at 10 drinks a night, where I had been for a looong time and had very high blood pressure (avg 185/98). I say had, because it's not high any more.

    Tapering: Following advice from here I tapered over a few days like this: 10-8-6-4-2-0 and then stayed alcohol free for a few weeks, which was great. I am now in the middle of another taper after the holidays.

    Withdrawals: Ugh! Nothing major: disturbed sleep, disturbed gastric patterns, brain fog for a couple of days (hated that, hence the ugh)

    Doing it and being scared: Yeah, I was too. These guys held my hand every stop of the way, sympathising when it was hard, reassuring me about the withdrawals (there's an assessment tool you can use to decide if you are tapering too fast), giving me encouragement that I sorely needed, and inspiring me with their stories and making me laugh. The best thing of all is that if you slip up or are worried they've got your back.

    Useful things to do next: I started by confirming my actual intake and then making and posting a taper plan. For me, posting in the daily drink count, reading others journals and doing my own journal were very helpful but everyone has their own way and I'm sure others here will soon weigh in with their top tips.​

    But actually the first place to start is by posting into the closed forum
    Suͥnnͣyͫ
    Senior Member
    Last edited by Suͥnnͣyͫ; 01-05-2022, 05:10 PM.

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    • Betterlife2007
      Betterlife2007
      Junior Member
      Betterlife2007 commented
      Editing a comment
      I feel so encouraged. Thank you for this! I want to taper down and then be alcohol free for 30 days. I worry my drinking is impacting my health. Thank you for your kindness!!

    #3
    Betterlife2007
    Junior Member
    Betterlife2007 Hi there and welcome! Like Sunny said, the people here are great and for me, the posts here were really helpful to me when I changed my relationship with booze last year. I've got a lot of experience with tapering and I am always happy to share my perspective with newcomers. I do not have high blood pressure, and I'm not a doctor, so bear that in mind -- but I think I generally have some pretty good news for you. I am really confident that you will be able to taper down safely.

    The way I like to think about it is this -- do you think you could forget to have a drink today and not die or have a seizure or hallucinations? Of course you could, right? It's not like every day is exactly the same, some days are six, some are eight, and some are probably more than eight Tapering takes advantage of the fact that there's a baseline your body "needs" but you can safely have a bit less than that, just not a LOT less. Your body might be uncomfortable with a little less than you usually get, but you won't die or have any serious health issues if you just get a little bit less every day for a while.

    Do you hope to taper down to zero, and then go "AF" (that's short for "alcohol free" around here) for a while? Lots of people choose to taper to zero and then do 30 days AF. You do not have to decide this right now, but it's a good thing to think about soon. Or do you want to go AF longer, for good, or to more moderate drinking right away? All options, it's really up to you.

    Whatever comes next, when you taper you're going to want to keep these key resources handy.
    • There's some good tapering advice on the front page that you should read, and if you're looking for a straightforward tapering plan, this is a great place to start. I personally prefer a little bit more structure than that page suggests, because I really liked making it "automatic" and not a series of decisions about how bad I'm feeling. I'll explain below.
    • There's also an excellent tool you'll want to keep around, the CIWA assessment tool found here. You can use this to evaluate your withdrawal symptoms.
    • There's also a really encouraging post on the odds of going through withdrawal on the front page. It's going to say that you're in the range for minor to mid-level withdrawal mostly due to the length of time you've been drinking every day.

    Here's what I'd recommend.

    1) Get a really accurate count. I was almost always low when I just guessed. You said 6-8 beers, I know, but you want to figure it out pretty precisely. Like, you want to be able to answer the question "exactly how many 'standard drinks' did I have yesterday and today?" Importantly, you need to know if you drinking "standard" beer (around 5% ABV) or something stronger? And is it a 12 oz beer -- or a "tallboy" -- or a pint in a bar? A standard beer is a 12 oz. 5% ABV beer. But some beers are up to 2x standard strength, and some are larger than 12 oz, so it's worth checking because that really makes a difference in how many "standard drinks" you're getting. Make sure you know that number.

    2) Figure out your "drinking hours." If you're not drinking in the morning right now, definitely do not start! But if you are, own that and build it into your taper. So for example, if you're drinking from 4 PM to midnight, that's 8 hours. If it's noon to ten PM, that's ten hours. If it's 6 AM until midnight, that's 18 hours.

    3) Divide the number from #1 into the hours in #2 and write down a schedule for the first day. For example, if you start drinking at 4:00 PM usually, have your first taper drink then. If it's 10:00 AM, plan the first one at 10:00 AM. Then have each of the rest of them on a pretty strict schedule.

    4) Figure out how fast you want to taper. You can see how it feels on Day 1 and decide then. Eliminating 1 or 2 a day is typical and really, you can eliminate 1 on day 1 and see how you feel and then decide. My hunch is you can go something like 8-6-4-2-0 pretty easily and totally safely, but there's absolutely nothing wrong with going one per day, especially if you feel like you really need it or are getting anxious about symptoms.

    5) Then just do it. Follow your plan. Don't question it or change it up or anything unless you really have to. Just do it, and a week from now you'll be alcohol free and celebrating a zero. Then you get to decide what comes next!

    One more note, a lot of people recommend switching to something other than your usual drink. For people drinking hard alcohol, that often means switching to beer. Since you're drinking beer, you might want to switch to a less desirable brand. I've had luck with Bud Light. The idea is to make the taper feel a bit more like medicine, and not like something you're doing to get drunk at all. It does help, IMO, although I really don't think it's critical.

    Finally, consider registering if you haven't already and posting in the "closed forums." You'll get more replies there, and there's also a great daily count thread every day where you'll find lots of people who will be delighted to support you on your journey.

    It is absolutely possible to get it under control from your levels. Lots of people here have. I'm looking forward to cheering your progress!

    P.S. I've been around since last fall, I'm using a new ID because I wanted a new name, but I'm a pretty consistent regular poster.
    Last edited by Ty West; 01-05-2022, 05:17 PM.

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    • Betterlife2007
      Betterlife2007
      Junior Member
      Betterlife2007 commented
      Editing a comment
      Wow! This is excellent advise. Right now I drink hard seltzer’s. Which contain 5%alc. I want to taper and then be sober for 30 days to start

    #4
    Welcome to HAMS! Let us know your taper plans and keep us posted! I'm currently tapering from 12-14 Standard drinks a day and have gotten to 8.5.

    Comment


    #5
    Welcome!! I know how you feel being nervous about posting. Hopefully you're feeling some relief after taking this big step. I too am a small female with hypertension and started here with an intense fear of dying, seizing, or having a heart attack from withdrawals, plus I'm a big whimp when it comes to physical discomfort. I've tapered many times from numbers much higher than yours and I haven't died yet lol, surprisingly the withdrawals have never been significant physically, it's the psychological aspect that draws me back into drinking or convinces me it might be dangerous if I don't have another drink.
    Blood pressure was a big factor for me and if you'd like to know more let me know but I feel like I'm rambling so I'm going to close for now. Just know your safe to taper and will feel better with every reduction you make

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    • Betterlife2007
      Betterlife2007
      Junior Member
      Betterlife2007 commented
      Editing a comment
      This is so encouraging. I’m autistic and have anxiety. I don’t even like drinking that much but the fear of dying and seizures keeps me drinking.

    #6
    Betterlife2007
    Junior Member
    Betterlife2007 welcome welcome welcome! I am so glad you decided to join us as you are amongst friends here for sure! I love the advice already given and would like to invite you over to the closed forum to join us in the daily drink count. That’s a way to track your progress and get support on a daily basis. I’m really proud of you for posting, as your courage is inspiring!!!

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    #7
    Betterlife2007
    Junior Member
    Betterlife2007 My wife (and I) have been drinking a lot for some time. When she had a few days of high consumption, as her blood alcohol crept near zero her BP would spike, sometimes above 180/100. The only way she could lower it was to drink more. Clearly this was not sustainable. She's on a low dose BP medication (I am too). But the BP spikes were worrisome to say the least. She was honest with her doc and the doc prescribed clonidine which is an older fast acting anti-hypertensive. She has it available as needed. As she has reduced her daily consumption those spikes are not present (in the past we've hit 14 drinks a day, for each of us). We've reduced a lot recently and hope to get to zero. I offer this information as an anecdote and am not implying this is anything suitable for your situation. It is just FYI. Welcome and all the best in pursuing your goals.

    Comment


      #8
      Thanks for your post. High blood pressure was one of the reasons I recently chose to cut back to one or two glasses of wine a day (as opposed to 5-8 or more). Since cutting back on January 2nd my night time BP has gone way up. I'm hoping over time it will stabilize. I haven't yet gone on drugs having only discovered the high BP in November. Your post is helpful.

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        #9
        So I’m down to 4.5 drinks the last two nights. I have to say this isn’t hard except I feel bored and I can’t sleep. Any sleep advice would be much appreciated.

        Comment


        • GreyW432
          GreyW432
          Senior Member
          GreyW432 commented
          Editing a comment
          Woooohoooo! That’s awesome! Benadryl, melatonin, GABA. These are my 3 go tos!

        • Ty West
          Ty West commented
          Editing a comment
          TBH, I've never solved the crappy sleep while quitting issue. I read a couple of books and binged a TV show in the middle of the night when I quit. I also found myself really drawn to reading other people's stories from quitting here and on reddit and filled a lot of time with that. Once I got to zero, a night or two afterward I got a full night of sleep again. It's not far off!
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