No two rock bottoms are the same.
The point where we decide that we simply cannot keep hurting ourselves looks different for everyone. This is important because some of us struggle with our perception of what alcoholism looks like.
I’m going to admit something because I know if I felt it, others have felt it too.
When I first stopped drinking, I secretly wondered if I was alcoholic enough. There was no question that I needed to stop drinking but my rock bottom wasn’t as dramatic as other alcoholics I’ve known or known about. Part of me wanted my disease to look like everyone else’s to help me better blend in.
I’m a classic over-achieving under-achiever. I’ve never been excellent at anything and I’ve never seriously failed at anything. It’s been exhausting to stay perfectly in the middle, just under the radar and average. To complicate matters, I’m a perfectionist. That means I’ve had to live a very scripted life in order to maintain these boundaries. Drinking offered me a brief release from my chosen mediocrity.
Some of us think that alcoholism has to look like a scene from Intervention.
When I told Hubster that I thought I had a drinking problem, even he said, “What did you do?”
“I didn’t do anything,” I replied.
“So,” he said, not quite understanding, “you didn’t do anything?” I knew he meant did I cheat on him, hurt one of the kids or get a DUI. Something devastating.
“No,” I said. “I went to bed. I woke up. I can never drink again.”
I had what’s known as a “high” rock bottom. Through the grace of God, I was able to start recovering from my drinking problem before I seriously screwed up my life. It doesn’t make me any less of an alcoholic. It does make me very grateful.
So, even though I secretly feared that I would be judged for not being alcoholic enough, those fears were never realized. Not one person said I couldn’t join the club. In fact, the exact opposite was true. Every single alcoholic I encountered nodded their heads and said, “Yup. I can relate to that.”
The details of our drinking are different but our stories have the same theme. We admitted we were powerless over our addiction – that our lives had become unmanageable.
If you’re still drinking, here’s what I want you to know:
- Your rock bottom can look nothing like a scene from Intervention and you can still be an alcoholic.
- If you don’t cheat on your spouse, lose your kids or get a DUI, you can still be an alcoholic.
- If you only drink on the weekend, you can still be an alcoholic.
- If you don’t hide bottles of alcohol in the house, you can still be an alcoholic.
- If no one would ever guess that you have a problem, you can still be an alcoholic.
- If you can’t wrap your mind around a Higher Power, you can still get help.
- If you can get through an entire episode of Mad Men without wanting to go on a drinking binge (or smoking binge for that matter), you can still be an alcoholic.
- If a friend comes over and puts a bottle of Jagermeister in your freezer and you’re not tempted to sneak sips, you can still be an alcoholic. Well, maybe not Jagermeister. That shit is vile. I only use that example because it happened to me last weekend. Let’s change it to a frosty bottle of Lemoncello.
- If you somehow managed to lose weight after you stopped drinking, even after consuming huge amounts of chocolate and ice cream, you can still be an alcoholic.
One day at a time.