I've been waging a serious war for the past 5 days. With alcohol. And with myself.
I'm 30 years old. I've been drinking pretty steadily since my early 20's. I don't drink much hard alcohol anymore, but I enjoy beer and I especially enjoy wine. I've been drinking several glasses a day, almost every day, for years. I've had a few periods of sobriety in between, but they were mostly forced. Like when I attended boot camp for the Navy, or when my ship would go on deployment. I didn't drink then for weeks or months at a time, and that was ok, but it's getting harder and harder for me to not drink every day now.
I recently left active duty (after 6 successful years, honorably discharged) and ever since, it's been one long binge... Recently I've noticed that I can drink a lot more than I used to without feeling drunk, and no matter how much it is, it never seems like enough. When I get to the end of a bottle of wine I think, is that it?
It used to be hard for me to put down an entire bottle in one night, I would have felt so sick the next day, but now I start with a few beers in the afternoon, fly through one bottle of wine and pop open another. And after all this I'm not falling down drunk or anything... it's weird. I know it isn't healthy to put that much alcohol into my body every day, but once I start, that's just what happens.
Every night I go to sleep and think, damn it, I did it again... I don't sleep well when I drink, often waking up in the middle of the night to pee, or with killer heartburn, or just, BAM, I'm suddenly wide awake. For hours. In the morning I feel tired, thirsty, foggy, and it's hard for me to get up the motivation to do... anything. Even showering feels like a chore. I'm easily overwhelmed and irritated by everything. It feels like I'm always angry with my husband, who hasn't done anything wrong, or with the dog, who is just a dog and does typical dog things.
These poor guys... I feel bad for them sometimes to have to deal with such a shrew. I pretty much wait all day until it's time to start drinking (late afternoon), although that time has been getting earlier and earlier. Since leaving the Navy, I haven't been up to much else, so it feels like I'm pretty much living to drink these days. I only feel "good" or "happy" during those few hours when I'm drinking. Then it's bedtime and I feel ashamed and guilty to have gotten myself into such a state, and the whole thing starts over.
The other night, I woke up in the middle of the night, just wide awake. I laid there and stared at the ceiling for some time and had a dialogue in my head about the state of things, although honestly I don't think it was a talk with myself, I think I was having a talk with God. Basically, He said that what I was doing was not healthy, and I was heading in a wrong direction.
What am I going to get out of drinking two bottles of wine that I'm not getting out of one, you know? Whatever it is I'm looking for isn't in there, or I would have found it. In that moment I knew that continuing down the road with alcohol will only lead me to very bad places, places I don't want to go. I don't want to turn out like my father, miserable his whole life, consumed by alcohol, and dead at age 52. Alcoholism runs in my family on both sides, I know that I'm genetically predisposed to the disease. I think my sudden ability to drink more without feeling drunk is the disease kicking in... I'm not sure if that's actually right, but I feel like my drinking has moved into another, much more serious and dangerous phase. I decided it was time to stop drinking while I still have my wits about me, before things really get ugly.
So, no, I don't have any DUI's. No failed relationships or lost jobs because of alcohol. I don't have any of those markers that would make it obvious to anyone, even my own husband, that I have a problem with alcohol. And yet, I do have a problem! I drink (much) more than the recommended amount. I have a problem limiting the amount I drink. I feel terrible all the time in every way (physically, mentally, emotionally, even spiritually). I am unhealthy, and I don't think I'll be able to manage my feelings or the amount I'm drinking going forward in my life. Something has got to change. I can't keep living like this. I'm really unhappy.
So I quit drinking on October 8. And the thing is, although I know it's the right thing, it was hard! I'm not happy about it!
I still have doubts, like "do I really have a problem? Reeeeeally?" Every day I battle with myself about it. I have a huge urge to just pour a glass of wine already and deal with this "situation" later... but there's something that won't let me. The grace of God, probably. Now is the time. I don't want it to be true, but I know it. I can't kick this can down the road any further... I may not be strong enough later to quit on my own. I don't want to have to take an actual time out from my life to go to rehab. And I definitely don't want any of the legal, financial, and relationship consequences.
There is so much I want out of my life... I have this suspicion (finally) that alcohol has been holding me back all these years, that it's actually made things harder when I thought it was making things easier... but it's still really hard to let it go! And I'm scared, because I'm worried that things are going to get harder before they get easier... I'm scared of whatever feelings might come up as I fight my way into sobriety. But I just know I need to do it, and if not now... then when?
I don't feel drastically better, but somehow I think (I hope) I'm on the right track... I'm going to my first AA meeting tonight, and I have a counseling appointment on Monday to start talking through my feelings of depression. I want out, but I'm at war with a part of myself that doesn't... does that make sense?
Please wish me luck, it's been a tough 5 days, and it's really, really difficult to imagine going forward from here.