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Medical results and increased drinking
Jun 2, 2013

I've been attending AA meetings, and recently have found myself trying to minimize potential triggers to alcohol use. When I drank more frequently, I often found thata trigger was when my bloodwork and other medical test results were lower or showed no change from previous tests. How frequent is this response with others in similar conditions? Especially when it appears someone feels they are attempting everything without anticipated success?

Response from Dr. Fawcett

Thanks for writing and for your careful vigilance and awareness about possible triggers. Alcohol and other drugs can become a primary coping method to handle stressful or uncomfortable feelings. They basically numb those emotions. Without the benefit of such drugs, we are increasingly aware of that discomfort.

Getting lab results, especially in light of making a great effort for health, can be stressful. I would encourage you to consciously develop other strategies for handling stress or negative emotions. These can include not just awareness of triggers, but other things such as reaching out to sponsors or friends, deep breathing, progressive relaxation, etc. It's worth noting that we shouldn't focus on any one set of lab results (I know it's hard sometimes). The important thing is the trend in the numbers, not the actual point on any given day.

Congratulations on attending meetings. Keep it up and share your experience and tools with others it will help all of you.

Best,

David



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