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Thread: Living abroad. Zero distractions available from alcohol / breakup

  1. #1
    IsaacT
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    Living abroad. Zero distractions available from alcohol / breakup

    Hey everyone,

    I'm coming up on one week without alcohol but every day is still a battle. Let me give a little background behind where I am now and why I decided to stop drinking.

    I'm a recent college graduate and, for a few months now, I've been living in a small city in a foreign country, where I've been doing a post-graduate internship. At first, it was great; I enjoyed the immersion, speaking the language, getting into my work, getting to know my roommates etc.

    A few months into it, things became rocky with my GF (back at college where we met) because of the distance. Fast-forward three months later to now: we recently went through a breakup that involved her being intimate with someone else while we were still together, saying the distance was too hard etc. It was / has been, without a doubt, the most emotionally difficult experience I've ever been through.

    My world turned upside down and, at the same time, everything around me started to seem less bright and promising. Winter settled in and everything seemed bleak. My roommates started retreating and I realized that I had no other real friends, let alone people to speak English with, in this new location. The loneliness became very real. My days started to consist entirely of forcing myself to work, dragging myself back home and going to bed.

    I immediately started coping with alcohol. I saw no other option for numbing the pain. It started with a bottle of wine or two a night. Then it became two or three bottles. By the end of the three weeks, I had been ignoring my responsibilities at work, failed to show up for several days and was scared about the direction I was heading.

    I quit drinking and went through some very painful withdrawal (which is pretty much over at this point, thank goodness!) but the rest of my situation has not changed. I've started seeing a therapist which has helped a fair amount. I've been constantly on the phone with my close friends and loved ones back home, but this doesn't seem to be a substitute for face-to-face human connection. The isolation and lack of distraction have made moving on from my ex incredibly difficult.

    So, when I sit at home with nothing to do but ruminate about the pain, the liquor store down the street starts to look really friendly. I'm supposed to be here for about five more months, and I'm desperate for some outlet other than alcohol.

    Any advice, wisdom, experience etc. would be sincerely appreciated.

  2. #2
    Wiseman2
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    Do they have AA type support meetings in your location? It's too tough to go this alone. Isolation and despair are alcohol's tools.
    Or even online support?

    [Register to see the link]

  3. #3
    Hollyj
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    Aren't there any expat groups? Have you considered volunteering? There must be something you can do outside of your apt.

  4. #4
    catfeeder
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    At first, it was great; I enjoyed the immersion, speaking the language, getting into my work, getting to know my roommates etc.
    What do you recall enjoying about all of this, and what has changed about it beyond your own perceptions? Can you increase your sessions with the therapist and have him or her refer you to a social worker for help to get into AA meetings or some kind of group support?

    As a mental safety net, I'd walk through what it would take and the consequences of putting this term on hold to return to your family. You may not need to reach for that, but a mental rehearsal can serve as a psychological safety net that you 'could' implement if you need an out.

    It makes no sense to stick around there if you're failing the term. Check with your Dean to learn what it will take to salvage the outcome, and then you can decide whether you're up for that or not.

    Meanwhile, I'd make it a private goal to surprise everyone, including myself, with my resilience and ability to bounce back from this. Rumination will only dig you a deeper hole to climb out of unless you reverse your focus and plan your ascent, instead.

    That's a decision.

    Head high.

  5. #5
    ShatteredMan
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    Completely agree about rumination.....it nearly killed me.

    My complex had a gym and if I couldn't sleep at night because of thinking about my ex, I'd get up and go hit the treadmill for 45 minutes or walk on it for an hour with relaxation music on. I would go until I was exhausted, then go shower and pass out.

    Sometimes I'd do this at 11pm and then tried to sleep. I'd sleep until 3am and repeat the process.....

    in the end, I didn't sleep much but it kept me from hitting the bottle. It did trim 30lbs off of me though.....

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