I admire your courage in trying to figure out what’s wrong.
Stopping drinking for long periods of time doesn’t mean that alcohol isn’t the problem. If you once believed that drinking might have been at the core of your issues, and now think that because there was an extended time where you didn’t drink and that that is behind you, I’d revisit your intuition. You say you feel obsessed, attacked, unable to remember things, angry, tense, want to quit your job, feel stupid, and have daily crying jags. All of these can be symptoms of binge drinking.
Binge drinking is different from alcoholism. People who binge drink are typically not alcohol dependent. The usual definition used is five (5) drinks for men in 2 hours and four (4) drinks for women in that same time. The highest percentage of users are between the ages of 25-34 and is the most common, costly, and deadly use of excessive alcohol. You can read more about it here.
The CDC lists many health problems that come along with it. Some of these you’ve mentioned in your email. Binge drinking is associated with many health problems, 8-10 including the following:
- Unintentional injuries such as car crashes, falls, burns, and alcohol poisoning.
- Violence including homicide, suicide, intimate partner violence, and sexual assault.
- Sexually transmitted diseases.
- Unintended pregnancy and poor pregnancy outcomes, including miscarriage and stillbirth.
- Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders.
- Sudden infant death syndrome.
- Chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease, and liver disease.
- Cancer of the breast, mouth, throat, esophagus, liver, and colon.
- Memory and learning problems.
- Alcohol dependence.
Because of all this information, I’d begin by looking at the drinking. My guess is any progress you make in this area will be well worth it.
The easiest and cheapest way to begin is to catch an open Alcoholics Anonymous meeting in your area. That might not be exactly where you would get the help you’ll need, but the literature available there and the people will be the best place to start.