Monday, June 20, 2011

Not Fun Anymore

***Submitted by Anonymous

This is not fun anymore.

It stopped being fun a long time ago. The amount of time I have spent worrying, ruminating, and berating myself about my drinking in truly staggering.

I am 45 year old woman with 3 beautiful, smart, athletic, fun daughters. I am also a woman whose marriage is crumbling before my eyes. I read a book titled something like Too good to leave too Bad to stay. One of the first questions in the book was when it was good, in the beginning, was it really GOOD? Or just OK? It realized it was just OK even back then and it sent shivers down my spine. 20 years later and it is not even OK. I think this stuck marital spot contributes to my drinking. My therapist does not. He thinks I am an alcoholic pure and simple.

I am not in denial about this anymore, truly. But I can’t seem to stop.

One thing no one ever seems to mention is the withdrawal symptoms. I have been drinking every day for most of my adult life except when pregnant. I had a corporate gig for 17 years so then my drinking was a glass or two of wine after work….but I always had one when I got home to ‘unwind’. When I left said corporate gig 5 years ago because it was way too big of a job to handle while having a husband who traveled for work and raising 3 kids, my drinking escalated. I still cannot fathom how this ‘disease’ snuck up on me. Let’s just say I am in shock, truly. This thing is kicking my butt.

Wow, when did it go from a few glasses to needing 5-plus a day just to feel normal? And now can we please talk about withdrawal? Because that is where I am now. If I don’t have my fix, I start to feel nauseous, achy, and there is a pressure in my chest. So now I drink just to make the physical symptoms go away. I read waaayyyy too much and am terrified I will have a seizure or DTs or otherwise lose control and that can’t happen, right? I would hate for the kids to see Mom in that state, so I better have a glass of cabernet to stave it off. But I have to have the glass in secret. Because I am terrified if I get a divorce my husband might play the alcohol card and I would lose the kids or it would affect the custody arrangement in some way.

I have not had a DUI, been arrested, passed out etc. etc. but am so scared he will use my drinking against me. So get help, right? My soul has been crying out for years, so last year I went to a rehab center hoping they would admit me to their outpatient program. The physician informed me you had to be clean for 5 days before they would do that. The intake lady on the phone told me not to stop drinking suddenly, so I didn’t. Said physician told me since I was not clean, she could not admit me to the outpatient program because I was still drinking. But they told me not to stop, I said. She said of course, because you might have a seizure. So why exactly did I go there, I wondered? I went to get help…and was sent home and advised to go to my regular physician to detox ambulatory. I did, being the good girl I am, and it was so hard to admit to my beloved GP I was abusing alcohol. I did a 5 day valium detox, and guess what? I was clean about a week and then right back at it.

I then went to a few AA meetings hoping the miracle would occur there. I listened to tons of inspiring people, but then let that fall by the wayside too since I felt like a fraud, still drinking. So here I sit at 9 am on a Saturday hating myself for drinking 9 glasses of wine yesterday and feeling so hung-over. Of course the first few were to make me feel ‘normal’ and not nauseous, but I just kept on going throughout the course of the day.

Like I said, not fun anymore.

I was drinking just to make sure I don’t feel like sh** . How did you guys get off the bottle and handle the withdrawal? I know that is just the beginning, and then the real work starts, but for now, that is what I truly need to know.

11 comments:

  1. Hi - first of all, I'm sending hugs to wherever you are. Posting this was very brave!

    I can't speak about withdrawal because I was lucky and didn't go through that when I stopped drinking. I can speak about AA, though, as that's what I've used to stay sober. Please don't feel like a fraud. It's an AA tradition that the only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking, and you meet that requirement based on your post! If you choose to go back to meetings, remember that.

    I will be thinking of you today, and hoping for the best for you. :)

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  2. I know exactly the space you are in. I, too, moved past the point of wanting the wine to needing it, and when I tried to stop, the withdrawal was horrendous. The only thing that stilled the shakes and the terrible aches was another drink. And then another.

    I was drinking at least two bottles of red wine a day, or more, and I needed inpatient detox at a hospital for nine days - there was no other way I could have stopped. I went straight from there into outpatient treatment and three meetings a week.

    You are not alone. There are countless women (and men) ready to support you, to hold you up and help you through. I am one of them, and I am sending you all the love and positive thoughts I have.

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  3. So brave for you to post this! You are so not alone, and for us who drank, we totally get your story. I understand your guilt, the inability to stop after the few drinks that take the edge off or bring you back to normal, the fear of losing or scarring your kids, etc. This disease gets you....and it sneaks in on you when you least expect it.

    Like the other commenter, I too found hope in AA. The people understand what you are going through and offer support. And the 12 steps are designed to help address why you drink in the first place and help you refuse future drinks and stay sober. There is nothing you could say in the rooms of AA that would shock people or offend them. They get it.

    I will be praying for you to be able to get through this....you've made the first step loud and clear, that you know there is a problem and you want to quit. I'll be thinking about you as you go through the next steps. Lots of hugs.

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  4. I found that when the pain of your addiction outweighs your fear of what is on the other side, then you will be ready.

    Currently, you are trying to control outcomes on curcumstances that are really out of your control anyway. Your husband, possible court issues, etc. I see women in halfway houses maintain custody of their children and many of them come from horrific backgrounds. These are bridges that you will cross when the time comes.

    In the meantime, you are dying a slow death. And it will accelerate the longer you drink.

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  5. Hey, you did manage to quite for a week or so, so you know you can quit with some help. Most of us find the problem is where you left off: how to stay "quited" :). Stopping the drinking left a big hole in my life, and AA filled that hole. I went to meetings, and more meetings, and even more meetings. More than that I laughed at those meetings for the first time in years. That, and the sometimes gentle, sometimes tough love filled that hole so that I no longer needed to drink.

    Some of us managed to stay sober with AA, others needed rehab programs in addition. My AA sponsor pointed me to a wonderful therapist that helped me greatly get the rest of my life straightened out. It seems like alcohol had twisted my thinking, or maybe my twisted thinking led to the alcohol, but in any case AA first, and then therapy gave me back a healthy life, a family and self respect.

    But just quitting drinking is not enough, at least not for me. That saves your life, AA can make that saved life something valuable and full of fun. On July 4th it will be a 30 year gift for me.

    Hugs,

    Mike L

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  6. Hi,
    Unfortunately there is no quick fix to a drinking problem. It's just a very long hard walk, along a rough path up a steep mountain side. But boy oh boy, when you get to the top and see the view and know you've beaten the battle with drink,... you know the journey was worth it for the view! :O))
    Keep trying, it is so, so worth it.
    Johnny Boy

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  7. I know just how you feel and my heart goes out to you. Stringing together those days is the most difficult, challenging, hellish experience I've ever had. In the beginning, it was all I could think about. I sweated through the minutes and went to bed as early as possible, pretending I had the flu.

    My withdrawal included night sweating, shaking hands, and and a complete inability to concentrate. This is what I did to get through the withdrawal, beyond AA meetings - take what you like...

    1. I read endless memoirs by other alcoholics - it helped me to really see that I didn't need to carry the shame.

    2. I read (and followed) the advice in "How to Quit Without Feeling Like Sh*t". He recommends various vitamins/herbs to deal with the physical side of addiction.

    3. I slept endlessly, as much as I possibly could. Whenever I started sweating, I reminded myself that the poison was leaving my body.

    4. I got some (not much, but some) excercise. I smoke, so I am a terrible runner, but it did help me to "run away" from the anger, frustration, and tears that emerged when I stopped medicating my loneliness.

    5. I prayed. I'm not religious. I hadn't prayed in at least a decade. But I started praying to stop. I think initially it went like this: "I am powerless over my consumption of alcohol. Please help me...please help me."

    6. I made gratitude lists. Even though it felt like everything in my life sucked, I worked to find something, anything, to be grateful for.

    7. BE SELFISH. Leave the house, get away from difficult situations, defer annoying tasks. If the only thing you do each day is get through without drinking, you've done something amazing.

    8. If you slip. Stand up. Dust yourself off. And start again. No shame.

    Quitting was honestly the most difficult thing I've ever done. Harder than labor. But it really does get easier.

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  8. Thank you for "saying it out loud"!
    It's obvious that you know how to get through the detox stage, you've done it before. What you seem to be overlooking is the affect years of alcohol has had on your brain. Your perspective is off because your brain is "broken". Remember this: alcoholism is a disease that will always want us to drink.

    You know how to get sober enough to get into rehab. You've done it and not followed through to the rehab part.

    For me it wasn't until I was utterly defeated that my fear of the unknown seems less important than my desire to live without alcohol. Then I prayed, like mad for the willingness and I stepped out, determined not to drink for that 24 hours NO MATTER WHAT. It's not easy, nor is is pretty but I kept asking myself how badly I wanted it. When my body and mind screamed for alcohol I trudged on.

    Soon I'd strung together a week of 24 hours sober and I kept going.

    You know what to do, forget worrying about people, places and things. You cannot control the outcomes of things in the future and if you're drunk you won't be able to affect positive outcomes.

    Know that you are worth it!! Know that we're here for you, ask for help again and imagine hundreds of people who are cheering you on from the sidelines.

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  9. I could physically feel the withdrawal symptoms as I read your description. I don't know what the answer is for you, but for me it was desperation. It was so not fun anymore. It was just a way of life without living. I felt so incredibly guilty that I was wasting a perfectly good life when others I knew fought courageously against illness to live and failed.

    I went to inpatient rehab where they medicated me through detox and I stayed for 9 days. I attended outpatient sessions for a time as well.

    I hope that you find your way. There is peace and joy for waiting for you.

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  10. I am dealing with alcoholism really bad & drinking is soo much easier than quitting! I find that life is no fun anymore & giving in/up is so much easier! I was raised in a christain family & never thought this would happen to me! I used to only drink at certain events or weekends & now find my self trapped in the bottle! Its like i have two brains, 1 brain wants to quit & the other skips.a.meal to hurry up and reach for.the bottle! I don't know what to do! Today i broke down & cried outloud really bad! I don't have money to get professional help! So i guess i'm screwed! I NEED HELP!!!!!

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  11. I would like to get hit by a bus or have a heart attack..
    just saying..

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