Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Diary of a Binge Drinker

***Submitted by Anonymous

The antabuse begins to dissolve on my tongue, and I swallow it quickly, cutting off my mind’s plotting on how to dispose of it indiscreetly. Two days ago, I hid gum on the roof of my mouth, and stuck the antabuse into the wad of gum. As soon as my husband turned away, I threw out the gum, and the contained antabuse.

With the antabuse gone, I could continue my four day binge, for one more day, and drink till the point of sweet oblivion and passing out

I am a binge drinker, and I mostly drink alone, until I pass out into oblivion. I am 29. I began drinking in college. I drank socially in college, binge drinking with friends on the weekends. After college, I drank socially, but also started drinking to self-medicate my own shyness, anxiety and insecurities. I began drinking alcoholically at around 25, when I taught English for a year in Asia, and was able to basically drink whenever I wanted, with a group of other young Americans, many of whom drank as much as me. I recognized I had a problem when I came back from Asia. I toned down my drinking for a year, and began graduate school. Every few weeks, however, I’d binge for several days. The binges became worse.

At various times over the past four years, the following occurred: I was admitted to a psych ward (due to the fact that I was too embarrassed to admit to my then-fiance that I was seriously drinking vodka at 7 a.m. that I told him I overdosed on pills and tried to kill myself. The fact was, however, I never tried to kill myself and I wasn’t taking any pills. I was simply too embarrassed to admit that I had been waking up early to drink vodka in the morning. I often drank in the morning so I could attempt to sober up by the time my fiancĂ©/husband came home from work), I ended up in the emergency room, I sprained my ankle falling drunk down the stairs, I drank and drove (I never had a DUI, but I should have), I missed weeks of class in graduate school due to drinking, I binged weeks before I graduated from grad school, weeks before my bridal shower, and several days before my wedding. I passed out drunk, and urinated all over myself in bed on several occasions, leaving my husband to clean up the mess. I joined AA at several points, but always stopped going about five or six weeks into a sober period of my life, when I felt confident and capable again.

In spite of all this, if you met me during the past four years, you probably wouldn’t realize that I had a problem. I was an A student throughout high school and college, a bit of a perfectionist. I did well in grad school. I graduated with a good job offer. In public, I always looked put-together. I come from a loving, supportive family. I have a wonderful husband, and good friends. I am a kind person, although anxious and fearful and insecure. I am often lonely, and wonder if I am good enough, and if this “is all there is” in life. I apologize for myself all the time. Alcohol filled a void that I hadn’t found anywhere else. What you might notice, however, is that every few weeks, I would be hard to reach. I wouldn’t answer my phone, I’d respond to e-mails after several days. I’d make up an excuse that I was busy. I only revealed so much of my personal life to you. In reality, I’d be checked-out, and on a binge, and I was too ashamed to reveal. Up until six months ago, I had never revealed to anyone other than my husband and a few close friends that I was an alcoholic.

Six months ago, after about a five week period of sobriety, I started drinking on a weekend, and continued my binge for a week, calling in sick to work, running out of the house intoxicated out of my mind, passing out in parking lots, hiding liquor behind bushes and empty parking lots, because I knew my husband would throw it out or make me stop drinking if I came home. Each night, I would come back to our home for a period to sleep, and then sneak out the next morning, to get more alcohol.

In all of my binges, I have been terrified to stop drinking. First, because I know the consequences will be awful – guilt, shame, self-loathing for putting my husband and family through hell, the fear that I am completely wasting my life and destroying my mind. Second, because alcohol is my soul mate. I love it more than any person, and the thought of giving it up completely, which I know I’ll have to do when the binge ends, terrifies the hell out of me.

However, I had never snuck out of the house every day for a week, and woken up bruised and hiding bottles in a parking lot. The consequences of what could have happened scared me to death. I thought I was done. I quit my job, told my employer about my alcoholism, and attended an outpatient program. Again, I had several weeks of sobriety, and then I binged again. I’ve binged three more times over the past six months, most recently over this past weekend. I started drinking at a wedding with college friends, and I didn’t stop drinking for five days. I hid alcohol, I ran out of the house, and tried to hide myself. I put my husband in the terrible position of being my warden – hiding my contacts and glasses, taking my credit cards and my cash, hiding my shoes so I couldn’t leave the house.

Throughout this period of my life, I’ve been in shock and denial. I worked hard to become a successful professional – I never thought my twenties would become waylaid by this chronic disease. I have put my own husband through hell – and have lied to him and manipulated him and betrayed his trust on multiple occasions.

Today, I am on day 2 of my new sobriety.

Being sober is extremely difficult because I am constantly grappling with: how the hell did this happen to me? What if I am trapped in this binge cycle for the rest of my life? How could I have put my husband through what I’ve put him through – what kind of horrible person does such a thing to someone else? Have I physically injured my liver or my brain? What is wrong with me that I feel so compelled to drink that I’ve put my sanity, career and marriage on the line?

Then, there is also the fear of knowing that despite everything that I’ve been through, I don’t trust myself enough to think that I can stay sober forever. In a few weeks, when I’m feeling emotionally stable, I’ll begin plotting to sneak a drink, to stop taking antabuse because it makes me tired, or “have just two glasses of wine,” and then this whole thing will start all over again. I am terrified.

I am going to AA meetings, and meeting with my addiction psychologist, but I feel like I have no idea what I should be doing. Should I go to a 30 day inpatient program? Should I attend another outpatient program? I want so badly for someone to tell me what to do, and I feel so alone right now.

For the past six months, I’ve been looking at this website, and at One Crafty Mother, and have found much comfort in knowing that I am not alone, in the shame and secrecy embedded in my addiction. Thank you to all who share their stories here.

12 comments:

  1. Hey there and welcome back to the sober side of the journey!

    First of all, ignore your inner thoughts/worries/critiques! shut them down, ignore them....put your brain on auto pilot and go with the flow. For TODAY. You are living ONE DAY AT A TIME now. When your brain begins the cycle of worries/self-sabotage redirect it to being where your hands are. Look around you, where you are and think about that space in the here & now!

    And breathe knowing that any man can fight the battles of just one day, you've done it before in other areas of your life.

    Step 1 - WE admitted we were powerless over alcohol and our lives had become unmanageable.

    WE, you're not alone. Go to meetings, as many per day as you can, get a sponsor and reach out. For today get phone numbers and go for coffee, be forward with the fact that you're sick and need help from fellow AA'ers. That's what we do for each other but you NEED to be open about it and ask.

    Inpatient/outpatient programs and wether to go are up to you, your hubby and your doctor. It sounds to me like your GP should be involved but if your husband is still performing the role of warden and on high alert that's worth thinking about.

    It sounds like you're still stuck in FEAR, of the unknown, of the past....well forget that for now, for today you need to become resolved that you CAN and WILL do this!!! How badly do you want it? I think very badly by your post.

    I was like you in so many ways, binge drinker, high achiever, afraid of all that sobriety would bring. And now...life is so much sweeter living it openly and honestly. It takes work but man what a relief to see my hubby relaxed!

    I'm here if you want to email me ANYTIME, soberjulie@gmail.com

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  2. My story is just like yours. I have been binge drinking for five years and am so ashamed about it. Thank you for writing this here.

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  3. Let me repeat—you are not alone at all. There are lots of us who have been on Day 2. Right on. That’s one more than yesterday-double your success just for today.

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  4. I am very moved by your story, please realize that you are not alone - I am like you in a lot of ways and was very fearful of staying sober forever. But you don't think forever, you think - just for today...and it works. AA works. Sponsors Work. The 12 Steps Work. Finding a Higher Power WORKS. Surrendering WORKS. Giving up your control Works. Living Sober WORKS and its awesome. You get my drift - give it a chance. Try to do what works for SOOOOO many others, just give it a try and stick it out. Why not? And don't trust yourself if you're not comfortable doing so right now - trust us and AA and/or anything else that keeps you sober and you will find your voice that you can trust again. It works and doesn't take as long as one would think. you will be ok. Just give it a chance, you'll be amazed at what life can be like without alcohol. Yeah its not always easy but I wouldn't trade it for the world. It's the best thing that has ever happened to me and life just keeps getting better and better. I had no idea it would be this good, that it would be this simple, AND....its free! :) You can e-mail me if you want. Just don't drink today and you'll be ok!... sjtwoboys@gmail.com Take care of yourself. SJ

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  5. Quite clearly, you are a bright, thoughtful, kind, and amazing person. I was extremely moved by your story (teary eyed and all) and I wish you all the best in your recovery. Thank you for sharing this.

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  6. Your story is so much like my story. Noone knew what was really going on with me (they suspected), but I was "functioning"... My mom would get scared if she didn't hear from me for a few days because she thought I was not doing well, and that was true, if an understatement. I was existing not living. Anyways, all of the things you wrote, I felt those too.

    There is always hope, there is help and it gets so much better... I think back and it makes me so sad because I know how terrible I felt inside, how horribly scared and sad and angry, and it was constantly there. You don't have to live with that anymore, that should not be normal, you need some peace. It is time for you now.

    I went to in-patient treatment and it helped me tremendously. It set me up with a great recovery commumity, and introduced me to the basics of my recovery - AA, the steps, sponsors, my higher power... Jump in with both feet. It might seem scary and not possible, but it is, and there is SO MUCH HELP out there. I was scared to move, to not work while in treatment, my family concerns - it all worked out. Maybe not perfectly and not in the way I imagined, but my life is infinitly better. You are not alone at all.

    I have been sober for 17 months, and it is not always easy and I still have to go to meetings, etc. but... I feel peaceful and not scared about excuses as to why I smelled like achohol and my hands shook badly on Mondays, or causing a crazy fight because I didn't want anyone to hug me and smell my breath, or waking up to scrapes and bruises. I could go on... I did everything that you mentioned too.

    I never asked for help because I was so scared and ashamed of my drinking that I felt I had to fix things on my own, almost like a punishment too. Ask for help now, it will be such a relief, you should not be carrying this burden on your own. Take care.

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  7. Thank you for posting this. I could have written this exactly. I haven't binged since the end of June and it was the worst I had been that I scared myself. I have gotten drunk a few times but have not crossed the one day mark into a serious binge and I think its truly from reading these posts and other similar boards. I did manage to go to an AA meeting after 3 glasses of wine and sat crying the entire time but haven't been able to go back again. But I want to and know truly that if I don't go to AA or get more help it will just happen again. I met a women at the AA meeting who I now feel comfortable calling or texting if I feel bad and it really helps. My husband knows but its such a sore subject with so much anger and betrayal that I need an outside person / or group to confide in that understands and doesn't judge me. Perhaps it will help. I haven't met another binge drinker but I think if I can find a few others that have this problem and have overcome it through AA or another group that would be good. Someone did tell me though that a bright side to binging is that we have a number of sober days with a clear head to actually take steps to come up with tools to use with the urge does happen. I'm trying to do that. Trying to keep reading and get myself to a meeting. I know that I am not ok even when I am not drinking and feel positive because my history always repeats itself and it has now for 15 years.
    I wish you the best and that you don't give up looking for help until you find what you need.

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  8. Welcome to the club - it does seem like an awful lot of hard work at the start, but over time you will strengthen your resolve and become comfortable - not complacent - with your sobriety.

    We're all with you..

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  9. I could feel your pain and anxiety while I was reading your story. Stick with it!! One day at a time! If you have to go to inpatient treatment, do it. Whatever you need to do to get well, just do it. You will find peace at the other end. Lots of prayers coming your way!

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  10. Thank You so much for your honesty....I know I'm not alone

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  11. Hi - it is really good to read this blog and the posts from others who are very supprtive. I have embarked on 'day one' just today! It feels very strange at the moment. Quite exhilerating and yet very scary too. My blog is http://mydrinkingdiary.blogspot.co.uk/

    Best wishes to all.

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