Rusty : thanks for the comments , especially about not trying to sort out everything in one go . One step at a time .
Andhecouldplay : cheers mate , I have read about your relationship problems , I hope it is all sorted out well now .
AndyInVA : I have taken Lexapro in the past and it helped me get through panic/anxiety attacks and I was more able to deal with some of my problems at that time . I don't know if I want/need to take them again this time , but I am certainly not against the idea .
Spen : yes you are right . the drink is only a temporary high , followed by a bad low for me at the moment .
Brentie : wise words , it is of course about our emotional responses to certain ( stressful ) situations and how we cope with our emotions that lead us to use and abuse various substances .
Thanks very much to everyone who has given their time to respond to my original post . I am still in some physical pain but the body is recovering . I came home from work this evening and felt quite down , wanted a drink but instead cooked some healthy food and watched a crap movie (Armored) . I am getting good support from friends and also my boss , so in the short term I think I will be ok .
My main worry is looking ahead to the next 10/20 years and feeling that I will not be able to find a good relationship or any financial security . That depresses me and leads to the negative emotions which I want to hide from , in a bottle at the moment .
I know I have many good things in my life and there are many people far worse off than me , so I have to find a way of living happily without a partner and somehow find some financial security for my old age .
I used to work in a clinic in London , doing Shiatsu , helping people with alcohol/drug/mental health problems . It often seems easier to help others than to help myself .
I don't want to have to stop drinking completely in the long term , just stop drinking to get obliterated . But for now I have stopped completely .
Thanks again everyone , you are a very good group of people