Monday, March 8, 2010

Fighting the Current

**Submitted by Anonymous

I hate that I can never have another drink. I hate that I can’t enjoy a beer or two with my husband or a glass of wine during dinner without knowing it will turn into a full night of drinking. And not drinking just to loosen up or enjoy myself. I drink enough to distance myself from everything that is real in my life. I drink to allow myself to stop fighting the currents that are pushing against me. Work, kids, appointments, bills, debt…the usual. I feel like I’m being pulled in a million directions and I want it all to stop. After my first glass the jets turn off and I seem to start flowing at a normal pace.

I drink wine. And I only drink it after the kids go to sleep. Once in a while I’ll have a glass during dinner and maybe another before their bedtime. The other five days a week it’s only after 8pm. And I don’t stop until the moment I go to bed. Sometimes it’s a lot later than I even realize. For two weeks I got black-out drunk every single night. I spilled red wine on the carpet and didn’t know it until the next morning. I got angry at my husband asking why I was up so late when I seemed so tired but don’t remember snapping at him. Every morning I would check the cupboards and trash to see what I drank or ate. I also checked my email and other online accounts to make sure I didn’t say anything stupid to anyone without realizing it. I was on auto-pilot from about midnight on for days.

Sometimes I woke up on the couch and went to bed on my own. Other times I would wake up in bed with my husband relieved I had made it. I would then try to fall back asleep with the crushing headaches that I lived with. I floated throughout the day in a fog. I couldn’t focus. Many mornings I still felt drunk. I would wake up late after hitting snooze for 45 minutes trying to sleep off as much of the sickness as I could. Then I’d load up on allergy medicine and pain relievers to get through the day. This was on top of the anti-depressant I started taking last fall.

Every morning I’d promise to take a night off drinking. Every afternoon I reconsidered.

Before I left for work in the morning I would make sure there was enough wine in the house to get drunk that night. If my husband didn’t have beer in the fridge I would offer him a glass of wine but only if I could spare it. I never got to the point where I needed a drink in the morning. This was my excuse for dismissing the fact that I had a problem with drinking. Alcoholics drink all day and they usually drink liquor. I only drink wine in the evenings. I couldn’t possibly be an alcoholic. Right? It took stumbling across a blog post one evening in January to finally realize what I'd known on some level for years. I held my breath as I read each word. I understood everything she said and my heart sank into my chest.

I wanted to get sober, but I didn’t know how. I'm scared of letting go of my crutch. I’ve spent hours online reading aa.org and blogs by women who are going through exactly what I’m going through. I still haven’t attended a meeting. I’m terrified of looking at all of those people in the eye and admitting I’m an alcoholic. I haven’t had a drink in 6 days. I want a drink right now. What I’m finally conscious of is that I can already taste the fourth drink. 10-12 a night was average. I used to think it was 4-5 until I actually looked up a serving size and measured it in the conveniently oversized glasses I’ve been using for years.

I feel like I’ve started to shake the fog that has surrounded me for over a decade. I remember having dreams again. I wake up without sickness. I can face my husband and kids in the morning knowing I don’t have to cover up any mistakes. I’ve finally admitted that I can’t do it alone. I’m still learning about AA and I’m closer to walking through the doors of a meeting. I initially quit drinking last month. I was surprised when I had really good days. I actually thought hey, maybe I don't have a problem. Maybe I just needed a little break. So I had a couple beers one night, a couple more on another, and finally drank an entire 1.5L bottle of wine the next. It's a slippery slope. I'm trying to learn to not take the good days for granted. I have no idea what's waiting for me a month or a year from now.

The community I’ve discovered online has given me the strength to get this far. I’m still reaching out because I know I have a long road ahead of me. Knowing if I were to have a drink now, that I could spiral right back to where I left off (or worse) terrifies me. The worst moments of my life involved alcohol. I can’t take them back, but I can prevent new ones. I'm lucky to be here. I have a chance to raise my kids in a home without alcohol abuse.

I am an alcoholic, but I am recovering.

15 comments:

  1. This online community is amazing, and should not be underestimated :)
    YOU are doing this though, you are. You are brave and stronger than you know.
    So much of this (like all the other stories - funny how there are so many common threads..) I can relate to. And my goodness, the checking to see what you ate or who you emailed or said - that was so me. I'd wake up and anticipate shame. Awful.
    Being sober is good. It's tough, and I'd rather be drinking at some points, but it's good. And the clarity... hang onto that - it's what it's all about.

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  2. My experience has been that doing it with help is so much easier than trying to do it alone. I hope you will try that.

    I sat in a meeting one evening and I heard a woman tell my same exact story. It was really eerie in the absolute resemblance in details and chronology. The difference is, in the part of the story where I quit drinking, she kept going, maybe another year. She drove drunk (like I used to) and killed someone with her car. She spent 8 years in jail.

    I got lucky. I don't want to know what would happen if I went back out there. It terrifies me.

    I'm staying sober today. I hope you will too.

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  3. Congrats on your sober time! That's truly amazing! I can remember when I was relunctant to go to meetings, and I would freak out at the thought that I might know someone...or even that someone I knew would see me walking into one. But the face-to-face support I receive is indespensible. It was suggested to me that I introduce myself as a newcommer and I fighted that one for awhile. But, once I did...it was such a relief! People were so welcoming and came up to me afterwards to introduce themselves. It's so great to truly feel a part of and not alone on this journey. I've met some really wonderful, strong women and the best friends I could ever ask for in meetings. And we have FUN! Real, true fun with real, true laughing. One thing I have to add, is that not all meetings are the same. I remember attending some where it seemed the people were more miserable being sober. I had to "shop around" and in doing so, I found my niche.

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  4. You have literally posted my story; my drinking habits; my issues. Amazing ... after a year, I can assure you that waking up next to my husband and KNOWING what I did last night is a most wonderful feeling. No more worries about drunk dialing, emailing, or posting ... the blackouts are not missed. You can do this. You're on the path, and it's not always easy; however it's extremely freeing and rewarding to live life in the here and now. Not numb, alive and feeling. :) Congratulations to you.

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  5. You could be writing my story. That is exactly how I felt and behaved while drinking. It does get better, and the cravings do go away after a while. In the beginning I was so sad at the thought of never having wine again because I enjoyed the taste so much (as well as the effect, obviously). Now I don't miss it anymore. For me, the most important thing to remember is that I can't have just one. I never could stop at one and if I try again I won't be able to. Somehow it's comforting, knowing that all I have to do is keep myself from having one. Good luck my dear, there is a fabulous life out there in sobriety.

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  6. I, too, share a similar story. I spent 2 months one summer blacked out 5 of 7 nights. I had never really been an alcohol drinker before this. But, The only nights I didn't drink until I passed out were the one where I had to work in the morning. I remember driving home from work and crying because I didn't want to stop at the alcohol store, but knowing I was powerless to stop myself. I would drink a 5th of vodka or rum every night, as fast as I could. And I never, ever - told anybody.

    I know that I was drinking because I was sad and selfish (self-consumed). I was always the gay, unattractive, weak, awkward, rude, inappropriate, fat, skinny, too-feminine, acne-faced, nerd from the moment I can remember being in school. After high school, I did a great job battling depression by addiction to sports and school. But by the time I was in residency after medical school, I was burned out. My relationship was failing, I wasn't working as hard as I wanted, I was gaining weight and using food for comfort. Then I got sick and I had a nervous breakdown and had to quit work for a few months. The shame of childhood came right back.

    So for 2 months I drank, and cried, and got angry, and ate and ate, and drank, and hid from friends, hid from family, hid from myself. I drove drunk. I did inappropriate, disgusting things, I said hurtful, unforgivable things.

    Then, as suddenly as I started, I stopped the nightly drinking. I moved to Africa and worked with HIV + children. I had to get up early for work every day and I had to be sober to do a good job, so I stopped - except for occasional binge drinking (1/month)on weekends. But, some of those weekend binges were out of control drinking. Finally, one night I drank so much I started to put together a plan to kill myself. I was tired of feeling alone, scared, anxious and sad. I was tired of thinking of all the things I COULD be, but was just "too lazy" to work at. I thought of all the negative characteristics of my personality and the realization that I couldn't conquer myself, that no matter WHERE I was, "I" would still be there. Thankfully, my friends were around, and I passed out. I was sick for 3 days.

    I woke up realizing I had a problem and alcohol was making it worse. So, I've been on "sabbatical" from alcohol for 9 months, not a drop, not even a sip. I want to stop craving it everytime I walk into the grocery store, but I don't yet. However, every day gets better and better. My dad and brother and uncles are alcoholics, and I am trying my best not to join the party.

    I don't know where this battle started or where it ends. But this is life. None of us are alone. It's ironic to me that it's a weaving together of similar stories that leads us to be unique. I want to get out of my own head and see the bigger picture, but it's not always easy. So, I just keep trying, and just keep looking in the mirror everyday and think of reasons to love the person trapped in there.

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  7. I remember the days of retracing my steps. Checking the refrigerator to see if we actually ate the steak that we cooked on the grill or if I passed out before I got it on the table. I love your line, "I would make sure there was enough wine in the house to get drunk that night." If I'm being honest with myself, I don't want to just drink ~ I want to get drunk. Period. Oblivion. Thank you so much for your courage and honesty. Reading this helps me to remember what it was like. By the way, the post from 10:32 blew me away. Hang on!

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  8. I'll second what everyone else said: Hang in there. You've got a taste of the good stuff now and it only gets better. I hope you do check out a meeting but whether you do or don't we'll be here! Take care.

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  9. I've told you this already, but I relate to your story so much. I think there are so many of us, mothers especially, drinking wine to oblivion when nobody is looking.

    And just like that post you mentioned was a beacon to you, now this post will be a beacon to others. Imagine that magic.

    One day at a time, love. I'm grateful I'm sober today. I'm grateful you are, too.

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  10. Try starting at a speaker meeting to get your feet wet. There you can listen to the speaker and identify with what they have to say. You wont have to share, but you will feel welcome, like a huge welcome home.

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  11. The last long bender I went on was after I stopped, again. Each time I would stop then start again it was progressively worse.
    My husband(at my request) took me to a detox place. They had to do a bac% test. I blew a .42
    I didn't even know that was possible. I only drank wine.

    No matter where you start it's probably better then where you've been.

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  12. Like many of the others have already said here, your story is mine, exactly. It's crazy amazing how similiar we all are. I find comfort in that, knowing that help is out there, should I need it.

    I hope you can find a good meeting to go to. Some weeks, my meeting saves me (I go to a closed women's meeting, only once a week)and other weeks, I skip it. Not sure why. But I always feel better when I go. I hope when and if you decide to go, you find a good meeting. It may take a couple tries.

    Congratulations on getting sober. It's not all rainbows and unicorns, but everyday it will get better.

    Stay strong.

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  13. When I read this it was like I was reading MY exact story except for 1 thing.....I never waited until my children were in bed to start drinking. Drinking began a 5:00 on the dot...if I made it past that it was a surprise. I always told myself I was "functioning" therefore, I wasn't an alcoholic. But every morning I said the same things and every afternoon I also reconsidered.
    I am sober 54 days today. The longest I can ever remember except when I was pregnant. Its funny when you stop drinking you think back to all the times you thought you were just "socially drinking" but you really weren't.
    I have been to 1 meeting and want to go to more but I am scared. I saw someone I knew and now I am afraid I will see more people and they will judge. (I know its stupid because they are there for the same reason) But I will do it....
    Good luck to you--Stay strong. Just like above post...no rainbows and unicorns but it does feel really good!

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  14. thank you so much... I have read your story again and again as it mirrors so much of mine... someday I will be as strong as you... I hope its soon.

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