Tuesday, April 3, 2012

A Binge Drinker Tells Her Truth

***Submitted by Ariel


I’ve been a binge drinker for 20 years.  I have every reason in the world to quit drinking. A great husband, 3 kids that I love like crazy, my own business, friends, and I have the desire to quit – to be a sober person – but I can’t seem to accomplish this.

My husband is a normal drinker.  A couple of beers or a few glasses of wine and he’s good.  He doesn’t have regular blackouts and pass out on the couch, like I do. He’s the responsible one, the designated driver (for me, always).  He’s the one who will pick up our sons if they’re at friends’ houses at night, because God knows I can't drive.

I try to rationalize why I drink about two bottles of wine a night, 4 nights a week, sometimes 5, more if it’s a ‘holiday week’ or we’re away on vacation, or any other excuse. Am I bored and drinking to escape into a buzzed inner-euphoria? (yes).  Am I intentionally trying to set a bad example for my kids? (I’m not doing it because I want to, but yes, of course I am setting a bad example.  I am painfully aware of this, yet I continue to drink too much wine.)  Do I want cirrhosis of the liver?  Do I have a death wish? (no).

I believe that I drink a lot at home out of boredom and habit.  As early as 5pm or 6pm, the cork gets popped and mom’s got a tumbler of wine in her hand…one that will be refilled many times.

I believe that I drink a lot when I’m out with friends, or when my husband and I go out on a super rare occasion, because being drunk feels good and makes me feel like a more interesting,outgoing person to be around.   That is, except when the night devolves in to me being in a drunken stupor, falling off my chair, having someone pour me back into my house later that night.  Me, not remembering the second half of so many nights.

Having said all this, one would never know I have a problem.  I don’t drink during the day.  I *can* go for days without drinking (recently went for 6 straight days while visiting family in another state.  I didn’t even miss my wine. Why is that?) I’m highly functional.  I’m really into fitness (I know, the irony).  I work outdoing hard core cardio or weight training nearly every day and I eat right.  I’m in love with my kids and husband, have a nice house, I’m great at what I do according to my clients, yada yada.

So why the heck can’t I even cut down?  It’s just getting worse and worse.

I worry that I’m going to go the way of Whitney Houston.  I’m almost the age she was when she died earlier this year.  I hope I can muster the strength to go to a women’s meeting. I don’t have the strength yet to tell friends, family, or even straight-on tell my husband of my problem (but geez, he knows, right?).

40 comments:

  1. i recall elly of 'one crafty mother' referring to the evening drink commencement as "the witching hour". the boredom sets in and you feel the urge to settle it. try doing anything else: go for a walk with your family, the beach, garden, something to keep you out of the house or away from the source during that time.
    Above, seek help; we all need it, alcoholic or not.

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  2. You took the first step and admitted you were powerless over alcohol. now contact an AA office in your area and have them put you in contact with a sober woman. Do this before you take a drink. It's simple but not easy.

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  3. I came from a family of alcholics, they are deceased now from the
    disease, most recently my nephew, age 50. I choose not to use any
    drug and alchol is a drug. My daughter did not, herion was her drug
    of choice. She is an addict and will be an addict the rest of her
    life, but came to me for help and she now six years sober!. Admitting
    to yourself is your first step, the next step is to pickup the phone
    and call the AA 24 hour hotline. They WILL call you back within 24
    hours. What THEY tell you do WILL save your life! You do not owe an
    explanation to your husband at this time. For all we know he could
    very well have a problem too. Addicts lead a normal life and can
    lie better than anybody, don't be fooled by this disease!

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  4. I think you're me - highly functional, workout, eat healthy (saves calories for alcohol), great family, husband as DD - not even a question, happy clients. Endlessly reading blogs waiting for the right inspiration to quit but really wanting to moderate because the idea of quitting is painful, really painful. Feeling envious of others who have made the decision and now find joy and peace and a better life. I don't know what it will take... I hope you figure it out and post about it.

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  5. I am you and I am now 2 plus years sober. My truth is now that my absolutely worst day as a sober mom is still infinitely better than my best day as a drinking mom. Stay in the blogs. Read "Drinking: A Love Story" by Caroline Knapp. Talk to you husband...he knows and he's worried about you. Your kids know too-I have found out just how much since I've been sober and I'm learning to live with the guilt.

    You can get sober without AA like I did but it's a helluva lot easier if you go. For me, it's the only place I've ever been where I don't feel shame.

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  6. Good for you for admitting you have a problem. That is huge. Yes, a woman's meeting will make you feel great and put things in perspective, when you are ready. In the meantime, read the blogs. Also maybe check out an online AA meeting if you're too nervous to go to a actual meeting.

    Thanks for sharing!

    XO

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  7. I second reading Drinking, A Love Story. I read it twice before I quit drinking. I can relate with much of your story....esp the husband enabling....its tough....

    Check out AA or Celebrate Recovery....there IS hope-

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  8. If AA doesn't work for you, try Women for Sobriety. Thanks for posting - you sound like me (except I don't work out)

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  9. I too was a functioning alcoholic. I had a successful career, a Mother, work out all of the time (sometimes with hangovers so bad I thought I would pass out) but then one day it all fell on top of me like an earthquake takes down a small city. I have friends approach me about how to get sober or whether or not I think they have a drinking problem. My answer.. the only answer is... when it starts to create problems in your life... you need to take a long hard look at the destruction it is causing... especially to those that you love. I eventually lost everything. I too thought that I could not find the happiness being sober because alcohol offered an escape from reality but sobriety offers so many more wonderful gifts. I have learned so much about myself, how to learn to love myself again, how to learn to love others without masking it behind a bottle, the power of forgiveness, the kind of person that I want to be. Go to a meeting and meet other people just like you. The serenity and peace that you feel when you hand over your disease and face it head on, is so powerful. My alcoholism has cost me a lot but boy has it taught me a lot about life, to me it's a gift and once you find the beauty in sobriety it's a gift that will allow you to "pay it forward."

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  10. Ariel,
    Here's the good news, you don't have to figure it out. You can quit trying to rationalize it, because you never will. All you have to do is quit. That's it. So simple but incredibly hard to do. I know. I was a daily heavy drinker for 30 years. I couldn't envision a life without alcohol until I could see myself dying if I continued to drink. Take a leap of faith and believe what everyone here is telling you. Because it's true. Life is better without alcohol. Period!

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    Replies
    1. So very, very true!!

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  11. You drink because you are alcoholic - physical craving and obsession of the mind.

    You say people don't know, don't notice when you fall out of chair?

    I stopped when I was 45 and will have 28 years in AA this month.

    Don't rationalize - just do it.

    Best,
    Sally

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  12. I saw someone mention Drinking: A Love Story. Reading that was my first step. Then I posted here, joined Women For Sobriety (WFS), set a quit date, began reading and contributing to the forums, found my local WFS meeting and have been continuously sober for almost 60 days. It hasn't been easy, sometimes it's been a downright battle with myself, but my life has changed drastically for the better.

    I am 32 and spent the better part of 6 years drinking daily. I was an extremely high functioning alcoholic though now I looking back I cringe. I had no idea what functioning was until I quit.

    As one of the moderators at WFS says, "We can drink, or we can have the life we want. That's the choice."

    That really says it all.

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    Replies
    1. Your journey sounds a lot like what I'm going through right now, too. I've been struggling with maintaining continuous sobriety over the last few months - it's a battle, but one I know will be worth it. I just started seeing a therapist again - being truthful for the first time in therapy was a huge step - and feel blessed to have gotten to the place where I'm finally ready to be kind to myself. My yoga practice and community help, too. I'll be 32 in a few months and hope to be sober when I do. Good luck to you - and everyone!

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  13. I am currently a daily drinker. I have tried AA and have family members in the program. I personally have seen how it works, but I do not agree that anybody is powerless over anything. I think it stems from bordem and habit. People need to figure out the root of their problem, including I.

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    Replies
    1. Boredom is right

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    2. Once a drink is ingested an alcoholics body will physically crave more and the mind will obsess over getting it. I am personally as Powerless over that craving as I am over a sneeze.
      I am also powerless over another persons impression of me, or their behavior - Oh the list goes on and on......
      The root of my problem is ME and thank God that really is the only thing I have power over. Thank you AA for opening the gates of hell and letting me out.

      Delete
  14. I feel like you are telling my story. I am a bit younger but have always been a binge drinker. I quit. I quit because I have 3 awesome kids and a great husband. I could never just have one or two beers and at first a six pack would do it but then I was drinking like a 30 pack per week and it terrified me. Then I would eat healthy and go to the gym or run 5-6 miles per day. I was living a total facade...now I feel great and everytime I think of drinking I look at one of my precious kids and that is my why not to...

    Good luck and many blessings to you..you can do this!!

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    Replies
    1. I had no idea how many of "us" would exercise and live otherwise healthy lives. I began to think how crazy it was for me to act like I was a healthy person. If I really cared about my health, I would give up the boozing. Chia seeds couldn't undue that damage!

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  15. Ariel,

    You are already on the right track. You know your drinking is a problem and it sounds like you are fed up with it. You have a support system behind you in your husband, who knows you have a problem but hasn't pushed you to confront it until you're ready. And of course you have your kids! You want to be there for them now and in the future. Contact AA in your area, attend a meeting, don't make excuses and choose recovery now.

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  16. I'm there now. Going for not drinking again.

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  17. I remember waking up 9 months ago with puffy face, blurry eyes and stomach "issues" from too much wine , and looking in the mirror hating how hung over and sluggish I felt wondering how I was ever going to stop this cycle.

    I too am a mom, married, happy life, fit, eat very healthy (except for wine and lately vodka). I realized that I was not really living a life. I was withdrawing every night into wine and it was slowly killing my spirit. I was a shell of a person, with no idea how to feel anymore and it scarred me to death.

    Now, nine months later I feel great! It has gotten easier and I love waking up not hating myself and most importantly I am fully present for my kids. I cannot get those years back but I can press on!
    Take care

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    Replies
    1. I think you're reply is the one to do it for me. I wake up EVERY morning HATING myself because I drank too much the night before. Like the rest of you Im an otherwise normal, healthy, functioning, giving, loving Mom. I dread 9:00 pm all day long because that's when I pour that first glass and I know Im powerless to stop until the bottle's gone. Thanks for this post :)

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    2. Ditto above. Ive been sober 3 weeks now and I too am a fully functioning full time career woman with a child but every afternoon the wine is open the the vodka would start and every morning the self loathing would start again. Its not helped that my boyfriend finished with me the day I decided to stop drinking but I have not had a drink since Janurary 19th. Today has been the hardest day as ive been alone all day and evening and im so happy I found this blog tonight x

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  18. Resistance to temptation and controlling yourself is the key of the problem. If you can drink a lot when you are with your friends, I guess it would be better to minimize going out with them, if cannot avoided, you must learn to control yourself.

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  19. HOW I WAS FREE FROM ALCOHOLISM AND SMOKING
    i have been drinking too much of late….. i’ll “accidentally do a bottle of wine” in an evening over a period of about three hours. last night i drank three large rum punches…. over about two and a half hours. i feel groggy and slow today and maybe in the grand scale of alcoholism i have little to ‘worry about” but i am concerned seeing as my Dad was a major alcoholic and it killed him, i told my best friend about it, he gave me Dr sambol contact and i email him immediately and explain every thing to him and he ask me what to do after the casting of the spell i was free from alcoholism i’m on a week without booze, contact him he can be of help to you drsambolspelltemple01@gmail.com

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  20. Hi there,

    You're not alone! I have been trying to cut back on wine, but I so do crave it from time to time and I love it! I can go 3-4 bottles a week if I REALLY want to. I try limiting myself to 1 per weekend but that has not been the case in a long time. I also believe that I drink out of boredom and habit as well. Plus I do enjoy the taste of it and how it makes me feel. I am in my early 30s, well educated, has a career, a loving boyfriend (soon to be fiance), friends, family, etc. But I am concerned that my tolerance is so high. I can finish a bottle in a night and only feeling super buzzed. But I'd wake up just fine the next morning. I too would want to cut down a lot. But it has been so hard.

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    Replies
    1. I hope you have cut back or stopped drinking.

      I once heard someone say, "When you can stop drinking you don't want to and when you can't stop drinking is when you want to."

      Delete
  21. I've been binge drinking for twenty years, also very functional but also apparent. I too have a husband that somewhat enables me. I just had a check up and blood work done and everything is completely normal. I like the way wine tastes and it makes me feel relaxed. Ive quit several times over the years for up to a year but then feel like I can handle it again. I have great medical coverage for treatment but don't ever want to have to check that box that asks if you've ever been treated for addiction. I did for the first time ever through a half full box of wine in the garbage. We will see. I'm ready to stay sober the rest of my life.

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  22. Alcohol is a nightmare. Ive lost my child over binge drinking. I wasn't drunk in the day but the evening I would drink to numb loneliness. ..
    when my child was asleep I felt lonely. But the binging mainly happened when I occasionally went out. Knowing my daughter was safe with my mum I would drink. Have blackouts ,accidents end up at hospital and get barred from pubs (I would be rude to bar staff after they refused to sell me any more alcohol) my mum and I fell out and one night after two months of not going out to drink, I did the awful thing of leaving my daughter alone, after all my mum was the only person I trusted with my child. That night all that was on my mind was booze! Selfish destructing booze! I fainted that night was brought home by a stranger and that person called the police. My child was taken into care. I was heartbroken and realised what i had done. But sadly the drinking got worse. As a person who suffers bipolar my moods are extreme as it is . Booze makes it 100 times worse. ...I tried to get my child back home but failed and she was adopted .I am still battling with the booze now. I have pancreatitus through drinking and im only 27. I sing songwrite , paint and I am a very caring person When SOBER .....

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  23. I am a weekend alcoholic. I never drink from Monday through Thursday, unless I am on vacation, however I can buy a case of beer on Saturday morning and it's gone by Sunday night. I really don't know if I'm an alcoholic because I've never actually tried to quit drinking. My sister and my best friend are alcoholics and it's caused me so much pain the things they have done when they are drinking. I would like to quit drinking but I'm bored. I am 52 and have been single for 12 years. My kids are grown and gone and I have 2 adorable grandsons that are my world. I keep them on the weekends and I drink while they are here. I hate that I do and I try not to but I can't seem to get through the weekends without drinking constantly. I need help and I have made the decision to stop drinking on New Years Day 2014. I hope I can do it.

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  24. I have a similar problem (although I would down almost a bottle a night). Like you, I don't suffer the effects of withdrawal when I don't drink, and can easily go without drinking if it is necessary. The problem is that life is just better when I drink. I'm quite an intellectual person and I find that life generaly doesn't provide me with the stimulation I need and alcohol helps me to relax and be more fulfilled in my daily life. It has no effect on my career or my relationship (or my health, so far), so it's very hard to justify stopping...especially when it makes me feel so good. I know it's bad for me, and that it can only get worse, not better, but what is the alternative? Rampant boredom? I could go for a walk, but that's boring too. I can watch a movie, but that's just another way to get in the mood for a drink (to help with relaxation). Reading helps, but I can only read for a couple of hours tops before I need to take a break...guess what follows?

    Even when I engage in intellectual debate and conversation I find that alcohol actually helps me rather than hinders me. It certainly doesn't hold me back.

    I rarely get drunk, but I do drink every night (at least 3 - 5 glasses).

    I really don't know what the answer is.

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  25. I can relate! The last couple of days I have been trying to avoid binge drinking by just drinking one bottle of wine a night. I know this is too much and everyone says to have only one glass. But I have a high tolerance and I like the feeling of it, how I feel happy and relaxed and then I can sleep. I really don't have bad hangovers hardly ever no matter how much I drink. I read a nice article at http://www.uncommonhelp.me/articles/how-to-stop-drinking-wine-every-day/ and I liked the advice there. I don't really want to be sober but I am getting pretty fat and I don't want to have liver damage either. Maybe instead of spending $6 a night on one bottle (can you believe what the charge in the restaurant?) I will take this advice and get one bottle every three days and spend $24 on the one bottle and try to spread it out over three days? I also don't have to drink every day, but then I will binge. I looked at myself in the mirror and laughed that I if I can't change myself who do I think is going to? It is not that I am powerless, it is just that like to drink. I agree, it adds to my enjoyment and fills the time in nicely.

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  26. I'd like to add my two sense. I hope by now you have found that woman's meeting .That is the only thing that has kept me sober. Going to meetings and not drinking. Your story is very relatable I have a wonderful husband and 3 young men now. Did the majority of my drinking at home. As of today I'm living a healthy sober life. It is worth doing the work to break the habit. I wish you the very best in life One day at a time

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  27. Well by now you've either overcome the addiction or likely it has become worse, or remained about the same. I hope you've overcome it. As someone who has struggled in my adult life with dependency on one substance or another (it's all about alcohol for me these days) I have to say, get into AA or seek professional help. Make a commitment to go without alcohol completely for a sustained period of time (minimum of 6 months) to see how you feel after that much time without it. But you have to do the AA program, go through the steps so you can identify and work through any issues in your life. It's challenging but if you have the determination to change, you absolutely can. Life is too short. Make the most of it. Some people would say that is a reason to get drunk. Well, listen to your conscience and if it's telling you to stop drinking, that's what you should do. All the best.

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  28. I am not an alcoholic but would think I could fit into the category of alcohol abuser, even if I did not have a regular drinking pattern. So why an abuser? Because the most heartbroken and shameful events of my life happened while being intoxicated. Things happing while being drunk influenced my sober happiness by the shame it inflicted on me. I never hurt anyone or experienced any physical consequences. But shame itself coming from bad decisions while being drunk can be just as damaging to your happiness. Of course being drunk does not excuse what we do, just to be clear about that. But if you notice how alcohol is negatively influencing your life one way or the other, then why keep on drinking it? I had many smaller warnings along the way, on how alcohol negatively influenced me, and lets not mention the hangovers or post-drinking anxiety. But It took a couple of really shameful incidents to make me realize what part alcohol played in this picture. Now I choose teetotal. I stopped torturing myself by thinking I should have learned my lessons earlier and how some years of my life could have been different if going teetotal the first time. But even at 41 it is what you do from now that matters most. Every day I experience how fantastic a life without ANY alcohol in it is! Waking up early in the morning without hangovers, never again post-drinking regrets, the confidence from making a clever decision for yourself, just to mention some. Coming from a non-drinking upbringing, social drinking never worked for me. And I will never again try to convince myself or being convinced by others that "one glass won't hurt". It may work fine 8 out of 10 times, but sooner or later you risk being back in the fire. As every alcoholic knows..its the first drink that gets you drunk. I never drank regularly or often, even years of abstinence, but still experienced negative effects from using alcohol. That tells me alcohol is a very dangerous substance and by standing sober on the sideline it is incredible to experience how huge part alcohol has gotten in todays social world. Alcohol becomes totally absurd the longer you choose to abstain. The social exclusion I substitute with other non-alcohol activities that are not happiness-thiefs.

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    ReplyDelete
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    ReplyDelete
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    ReplyDelete
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    ReplyDelete