The Dreaded ‘Anxiety Hangover’

Finally, here’s a working model for the ‘anxiety hangover’. Thank God I wasn’t alone.

This is the worst feeling in the world. Waking up, every morning, not only feeling PHYSICALLY exhausted…but paranoid as hell about the actions that might’ve occurred the night before. When drinking with friends, I’d always go to the point of blackout. My consciousness might have gone dark, but physically, I was still functioning. I’d have to rely on friends telling me what happened, and their story wasn’t always reliable. That only further contributed to the paranoia.

And I’d have to suffer through this every morning. I could only lie in bed, too afraid to get up. My work suffered because of this hangover. I’m a relatively healthy guy, so I was able to physically overcome a hangover quickly. But mentally, this anxiety and depression hovered over me throughout the day. Finally, after regaining my appetite, I was able to drink again.

And off to the races I went.

Thinking back on this, I’m a complete idiot. How could I have forgotten about this dreaded ‘anxiety hangover’ each time I started drinking? I suppose that I thought I could avoid it. Doing the same thing and expecting different results.

Friends would give me advice on how to avoid it. It’s the usual things…eat a lot of carbs, drink water throughout the night (as if I could remember that), or just start drinking again! It’s all horseshit.

But now I know that I’m not alone. And I sure as hell don’t want to face that beast again.

Acknowledging Compulsive Hoarding

Addicts have it easy, strange as it is to say, compared to others suffering from uncontrollable conditions. We have groups and whole industries at our disposal to help bring us to sobriety.

Others aren’t so lucky.

Compulsive hoarding, according to this video, affects about 15 million people in the US. I suspect that that’s a conservative estimate. As the woman in this presentation, Jennifer Hanzlick, stated…this covers people from all walks of life. It can be professors, doctors, entrepreneurs…anyone.

Many people in my family suffer from this. You probably know someone that is struggling.

And yet, even though mental health disorders have been brought to the forefront in our society, compulsive hoarding is still stigmatized. We don’t view it through the same lens as addiction, PTSD, depression, and a host of other problems. The compulsive hoarder is portrayed as lazy, dirty, reclusive, and eccentric.

Whether or not health professionals consider hoarding an addiction is irrelevant to me. I see many similarities between hoarding and addiction. Excessive consumerism becomes a reward, similar to drinking becoming a reward for the alcoholic. And like the alcoholic, they’re left in the ruin of their actions.

Shame is beneficial to no one. It only prevents a problem from being solved. Yet that’s what the sufferer feels when presented with the issue. As Hanzlick says, we should choose to approach the problem with compassion…as many have treated the suffering addict.

Support groups are popping up. Perhaps rehab wouldn’t be a useful option for the compulsive hoarder, but I believe that support groups (similar to the 12-step, Anonymous programs) could be beneficial and need more support.

Here’s a list of a few:

The Hell of the Hangover

Hangovers were far more than just physical for me. In addition to feeling like a train wreck, it also involved feeling guilt, anxiety, paranoia, and ultimately depression. Then back to the bottle for me. Thus, we have the cycle of addiction.

I also discuss secondary addictions, and one disorder that I believe deserves more attention.

If you need information on sobriety, be sure to download the free ebook from

Breaking the Taboo: Sex Addiction

I keep mentioning this ‘cycle of addiction’. My alcoholism certainly followed a pattern: I drink, get relief, then depressed, and back to the bottle. And many alcoholics and addicts have other addictions, usually as a way to relieve their primary addiction.

One such side addiction is sex. And by the way, alcohol might serve as a side addiction to sex addicts. There can be any number of combinations for addicts. But usually, there is a primary addiction that spins off other addictions.

However, we all know of the struggles with narcotics, alcohol, prescription drugs. Even internet addiction is becoming a prevalent subject. But one addiction still remains on the fringe. And with the endless source of internet pornography, it is probably a bigger problem than what we realize. And that is sex addiction.

Even in our ‘highly enlightened’ society, this still remains a tough subject. And as I’ve discussed in previous posts, shame doesn’t do a damn thing for addicts. In fact, it only contributes to the problem. If we are truly concerned with enhancing mental health and healthy sex, and wish decrease the prevalence of criminal pornography, suicidal tendencies, sexual assault, rape, marital issues, and a host of other sex-related problems, then this addiction needs to come to the forefront.

This video by Erik Bohlin, in my view, is not only helpful in explaining sex addiction, but strikes at the heart of the mechanism of addiction itself.

Additionally discusses sex and pornography addictions on their page covering Cross Addictions

The Quiet Suffering of High-Functioning Alcoholism

My friends are high-functioning alcoholics. I won’t say that I am, because that sounds kind of arrogant.

I’m a high-functioning alcoholic.

See what I mean?

But they’re out there. I believe that they’re considered a minority within alcoholism-dom (is that what you call it?). Perhaps that’s true. But I think it’s also an understatement.

They may be hard to notice. One friend is a successful business owner. The other is a manager. The latter is the one I’m most concerned with. Lives alone. Watches depressing YouTube videos all day. And is never seen without a beer.

He’s a very likable guy. Never seems depressed. But it’s there.

Hell, he’d probably admit to it.

And I think this is how we overlook high-functioning alcoholism. We just assume that they’re okay. Sure, they might drink too much from time to time. But does ‘from time to time’ become most of the time?

Perhaps it takes one alcoholic to recognize another. But there are signs:

Do they drink alone?

Is drinking a usual part of the conversation?

Do they get intoxicated at all social functions?!

Most people were surprised to learn I go to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. Sure, I drank large quantities from time to time. But, to them, that didn’t make me alcoholic. Even people in my family (my wife included) were taken back by learning this.

But truthfully, I was drunk everyday. I even hid liquor bottles strategically around the house. And it wasn’t like I was shy about my drinking. But no one suspected that it was as bad as it was. And it was horrible!

I was hungover most mornings. If I woke up without a hangover, I would think something was off. And my professional life suffered because of it. If I wasn’t calling in sick or showing up late, I probably wasn’t the A player they wanted me to be.

I got fired at my first real ‘big boy’ job for this very reason.

Yet no one suspected a thing. Even my DUI arrest (after getting fired), no one suspected that I might’ve had a problem. I was just having a ‘bad week’. And after I got my life ‘together’, the worst had yet to come.

And there were all of these tell-tale signs…to include outbursts and physical altercations…yet nobody suspected anything.

I was burning inside. Even suicidal. Hangovers would lead to depression and paranoia. And to relieve these thoughts, I’d go back to the bottle. And on and on the cycle went.

They say that not all alcoholics hit rock bottom. That’s especially true for high-functioning alcoholics. I certainly hit rock bottom after getting fired and then arrested. But I appeared put together after that. And the reality was, I was hitting rock-bottom nearly every week.

Thankfully, I found AA and decided to take control over my addiction.

But some might feel shame. And some might not even know they have a problem. But just because someone doesn’t fit the classical mold of an alcoholic, doesn’t mean they aren’t suffering.

If you are concerned about a friend or a loved one’s drinking, please be open with them. Denial is common, but it doesn’t hurt to ask “do you think you might have a problem?”. They might thank you later.

If you need more information, please visit What is a High-Functioning Alcoholic

The Opioid Epidemic and Simplistic Views of Addiction

Actor Ethan Embry has opened up about his addiction. And his story is one of thousands (or even millions) out there that are suffering from this epidemic.

A few in my family have also faced this problem.

Chances are that you know somebody that is also struggling with this addiction. But, because of shame, it remains hidden away because of simplistic views towards drug abuse.

Embry calls out a memo from Attorney General Jeff Sessions that would imply tougher criminalization for drug offenders. He is understandably pissed.

I’ve lost interest in politics a long time ago. Yet such tough-love approaches towards drug addicts is asinine. It’s a simplistic view that has never worked, and will only keep addiction a taboo subject. It targets vulnerable individuals and keeps them on the fringes of society.

Every addict has had to listen to these arguments for years. None of it is helpful and usually it only leads to a greater addiction due to the shame that it provides.

I’ve known many that have favored this approach. But what they are failing to understand, is that they in favor of criminalizing their neighbors, friends, and loved ones.

This is an epic health crises. Throwing people into jail is a lazy approach to solving it. It’s just sweeping problems under the rug. If you are really concerned about solving this issue, then it comes down to listening and understanding.

Ethan Embry Reveals Opiate Addiction: ‘There is an End in Sight’


Once an Alcoholic, Always an Alcoholic

This is my first episode since the relapse on Thursday. Hard lessons had to be learned…including one that I didn’t want to believe.

If you need help or any information on addiction, please go to